Govt’s commitment to agricultural sector questioned
Some industry players in the agricultural sector have questioned Government’s commitment to developing the sector as Ghana marks farmers’ day today.
A member of the Agricultural Workers Union is worried about the declining investment in the Agric sector. Edward Kareweh has told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo that, “Continuous decline of the sector is a clear manifestation of the level of investment we put in the sector. It is very difficult to agree today that Agriculture is the backbone to drive the economic development of this country.”
Today is a day set aside to recognize the contribution of farmers to the country’s development.
The theme for the celebration which will be held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region is: ‘Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture.'
Government’s projection that the sector would grow by 3.6 per cent this year was missed with the sector growing by 0.04 per cent.
The agricultural sector’s share of the country’s GDP for 2015 is 19 per cent compared to last years’ 21.5 per cent.
Among the number of factors believed to have contributed to the sector’ failure is the fertilizer subsidy programme which many fertilizer producers withdrew from in the middle of the year.
“Sometimes the fertilizers come too late and the distribution becomes a problem sometimes,” a farmer told Joy News.
Also, the poor rainfall patterns this year has led to the doubling of the prices of maize.
And there have been projections that the problem will worsen in 2016 after government cut down on budgetary allocations to the agric sector in next year’s budget.
In 2015, government budgeted 394 million cedis for the sector but in 2016, 355 million Cedis has been budgeted- a 40 million Cedis cut.
Meanwhile, the Agric Ministry is disputing the assertion that the cut in the agric budget has affected productivity in the sector.
“In spite of the fact that the Ministry of Agric may have had a cut in its budget, much more cocoa roads have been constructed this year than any other year in Ghana,” the Agric Minister, Fifi Kwetey said.