Govt to revive agric for higher economic devt
The government is to implement an agricultural revival programme from March this year targeted at positioning agriculture as the conduit for higher economic development.
As part of the programme, educational institutions will be supported to undertake large-scale farming and implement a graduates-for-agriculture project to entice graduates into agriculture.
Additionally, the government will pursue an aggressive agri-business strategy and establish agricultural mechanisation centres in all the districts.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Humado, made this known in an interaction with journalists after the opening of the 22nd ordinary session of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday.
Ghana’s delegation to the summit is led by Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) adopted in 2003 by AU leaders during the General Assembly in Maputo, Mozambique.
The CAADP targets the transformation of agriculture in Africa, and in line with that, African governments decided to commit at least 10 per cent of their national budgets to support agricultural development.
Mr Humado said Ghana had fulfilled its part of the decision by devoting about 9.5 per cent of its annual budget to the development of agriculture.
Efforts being made by the government to boost the agricultural sector, he said, included improved credit facilities to farmers, supply of high-yielding seeds and farm inputs to farmers and the rehabilitation and construction of new irrigation projects.
Agricultural growth, Mr Humado said, had hovered between five and 10 per cent, adding that a review of the public expenditure last year revealed that some of the areas in agriculture were not adequately resourced.
They included the food crops, fisheries and livestock sectors.
The minister said the lapses would be addressed and stressed the importance the private sector played in the development of agriculture, for which reason the government was aggressively reaching out to that sector.
Opening the summit, the Chairman of the AU, who is also the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr Ato Hailmariam Dessalegn, described the progress made in the implementation of the goals and objectives of the CAADP in the last decade as enormous and called for its celebration.
That notwithstanding, he called for more work in the coming years.
On conflicts in Africa, particularly in South Sudan, Mr Dessalegn called on the international community to make its presence felt in the peace efforts.
He welcomed the signals for peace being exhibited by the feuding parties in the conflict and expressed the hope that everlasting peace and stability would be reached soon.
Touching on the conflict in the Central African Republic, Mr Dessalegn again urged the international community to fully support the country to overcome its challenges.
Others who addressed the ceremony included the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Elliason; the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the President of post-conflict Madagascar, Mr Hery Rajaonarimampianina.
Meanwhile, Mr Dessalegn has handed over the AU chairmanship to the President of Mauritania, Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz.
The main conference hall of the AU Headquarters building was named after the late South African President, Mr Nelson Mandela, for his contribution to the development of the continent.