Begoro farmers want gov’t to fast track one-village one-dam plan

By: Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Myjoyonline.com

 

Farmers at Begoro in the Eastern Region are appealing to government to fast-track efforts at fulfilling its one-village one-dam electoral promise to ensure sustainable vegetable production there.

The farmers have over the years relied on stagnant, dirty and polluted sources to get water to irrigate their vegetables. Farmers at Beregoro grow mainly lettuce, pepper, garden eggs and other vegetables.

These crops require constant watering, else they wilt and die. The farmers claim relying on the polluted water sources has been a major source of fungus infection on their farms which they struggle to deal with.

“The water we rely on is the cause of the fungus infection. Animals including cattle do walk in the stagnant stream and drink from it. In the process, they infect it with the microorganism.

“The moment you use it to water your crops, the fungus then attack the roots of the plants,” Danso Samuel who is a member of the Export Farmers Association in Begoro told Joy News.

The farmers say the destruction by the fungus usually delves a heavy blow to them, as they are unable to harvest enough yield. “The fungus destroys the seedlings, thus causing them to rot. And then they fall,” Danso explained.

“The water is not hygienic. Government should construct mini dams and boreholes for us to make use of in our activities,” he added.

Obed Asiamah, another farmer in the community noted there is the need for vegetables to be grown at places close to water bodies, hence farmers decided to dam a nearby stream allow them to use it for their operations.

But he says it is proving counterproductive now and says it is about time that government acted on their plight.

“We are begging the government to come to our aid. When Nana Addo, was campaigning, he promised one village and one dam. He should quickly fulfill this promise so as to bring us, farmers, some relief,” Asiamah added.

“We started this on our own and dug this but clearly, we need a properly dug out dam. We have built this and now we want government to speedily come and support us in the one-village one-dam policy,” he stated.

Whilst campaigning ahead of elections last year, Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and now President Akufo-Addo promised that if he wins the polls, every farming village will get a dam as part of efforts to ensure all year round production of food to help make the country a net food exporter.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced in the 2017 budget statement delivered to parliament that an amount of 89 million cedis had been allocated for the policy. But ground works to allow for the digging up of the dams are yet to begin.

The Agric Ministry recently announced that an Israeli company, Commercial Project Management Africa has expressed interest in partnering government to construct the dams.

Now, the farmers at Begoro say they are awaiting the speedy fulfillment of the promise to ensure the challenge with irrigation is dealt with once and for all.

Source: modernghana.com

Revamp Pomadze Poultry Farm – Effutu Chief To Government

 

The Paramount Chief of the Efutu Traditional Area, Nenyi Ghartey VII, has appealed to government to revamp the defunct Pomadze Poultry Farm to provide jobs for the youth in the area.

He said the structures of the factory are going waste, and called for it to “be rehabilitated in phases”.

He added the area could be “used to establish a Micro Livestock Project and a Residential Youth in Agriculture Entrepreneurship Programme to train the youths in the production of small ruminants, mushroom and others”.

The Omanhene made the proposal at a durbar in Winneba to mark the 2017 celebration of the annual Aboakyer Festival by the people of Winneba.

The festival was generally peaceful this year as the Winneba town was under heavy security presence from both the police and the military.

Despite its peaceful celebration, the 2017 Aboakyer Festival lost a part of its shine as the Dentsirfo Asafo Company boycotted the event.

The hunt for a deer, the climax of the festival, was thus done by only the Twafo Asafo Company.

The animal was presented to Omanhene Nenyi Ghartey, and later to the Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan and the Chieftaincy, Religion and Culture Minister, Kofi Dzamesi who were present at the durbar.

Nenyi Ghartey VII also hinted on the threat posed to the hunting ground for the sacred deers. He solicited support from the President for the place to be preserved and properly managed for tourist purposes.

“We have petitioned the management of the Ghana Tourism Authority to initiate action on this request. If properly managed, we are only optimistic that this festival will become a major income earning cultural event for our people and beyond”, Nenyi Ghartey VII stated.

On the perennial controversies that surround the festival, the Omanhene advised politicians “to allow for its observation without interference to preserve it for its economic benefits to the Efutu community and those around us”.

On his part, Hon Kofi Dzamesi promised the people of Efutu who are mostly employed in the fishing industry: “very soon, the Ministry of Fisheries will be coming to visit your community to address all the problems associated with fishing, especially having to do with premix fuel distribution in this area”.

The Aboakyer Festival is celebrated yearly on the first Saturday in May. It attracts diverse tourists from the world over.

 

Source : Peace Fm

Make groundnut farming part of Planting for food and jobs – SADA-CSOs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coalition of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority Civil Society Organisations (SADA-CSOs), have appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to make groundnut farming part of his ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ Initiatives.

According to SADA-CSOs, groundnuts had been identified as one of the major cash crops with huge export potentials for the country as the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones (NSEZ), had the greatest comparative advantage.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga on Monday, the Executive Director of the SADA-CSOs, Mr Bismark Adongo, explained that unlike other crops, the growth of groundnuts required less capital injection into its farming since the crop relied on the fixation of nitrogen for its growth and could also be cropped four times in a year.

“Ghana, with its favourable climatic conditions and abundant rich soil, has a comparative and competitive advantage in groundnuts and hence is well-positioned to take advantage of international market opportunities to develop the sector,” he said.

He stressed that viewing the huge export potentials of groundnuts, there was the need for government, the private sector and NGOs to invest the needed resources in the sector to help reduce poverty in Northern Ghana.

He stated that apart from groundnut farming having the greatest potentials of contributing to poverty reduction, it is one of the areas where many women farmers engaged in each season.

The SADA-CSOs noted that the groundnut production fit into government’s policy of one District One factory and Village One Dam policy and stated that the implementation of the groundnut farming initiative could be improved and expanded for export.

 

Source: Ghana Business News

Brong Ahafo Regional Technical Committee for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign inaugurated

By  Nana Antwi Boasiako-Metro 90.5FM,Sunyani

 

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture on Tuesday inaugurated Brong Ahafo regional technical committee for the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign in Sunyani, with a call on the youth and the public to go into commercial farming.

“The “Planting for Foods and Jobs Campaign” will focus initially on four key commodity value chains: maize, rice, soybean and sorghum” he added,

He said the technical team has been constituted in order to coordinate and monitor the main activities along the five pillars of the campaign.

According to him, the regional technical committee will also monitor the implementation of the program in the municipalities and districts to ensure that municipal and district technical committees which will be constituted to implement activities are captured in the action plan.

The Minister said “This campaign is designed to encourage all citizens both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full time and part time activity. It is intended to structure it along the lines of operation Feed Yourself Programme in the 1970s. The campaign will involve the production of rice, soya beans, sorghum and vegetables.”

“The secondary objective of the campaign is to provide job opportunities for the term unemployed youth in the agriculture and allied sectors. Through this policy intervention and strategic direction about 750,000 jobs, in both direct and indirect employment especially for the youth would be created during the first year. Also the tertiary objective is to create general awareness for all formal workers to either have farms or grow some cereals or vegetables establish backyards gardens, when enough land is not available and accessible”.

“You may recall that during the 2016 electioneering campaign, one of the key messages of the NPP was to modernize agriculture, improve food production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity” he added.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said about 3,760723 MT of produce at a value of GH1.3billion would be created this year, 2017 from the programme, “compare to 2016 production level of 2,782,44 at a value of GH0.7 billion”.

“To ensure that the Campaign acts as a catalyst and forerunner of the agricultural transformation in the country, the programme, is anchored on five pillars 1) the provision of improved seeds, (2) supply of fertilizers,(3) provision of dedicated extension services, (4) marketing strategy and the infusion of (5) electronic platform in undertaking all activities in food and agriculture-e Agriculture”.

He said about 750,000 jobs, in both direct and indirect employment especially for the youth would be created during the first year.

Meanwhile Brong Ahafo regional Minister, Lawyer Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh who Chairs the committee in a speech stressed the need for expect to abide by the technicalities involved to implement the programme extremely well.

The Minister said huge amount has been fused into the project hence the need all to ensure successful implementation of the programme.

He reiterates the need for registered farmers to be educated on the projects ongoing

Lawyer Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh also called on the ministry for food and agriculture to make use of specialty personnel to make technicalities involved to all the stakeholders.

He said extension officers who would be drawn to the programme should be able to work to support the farmers to implement the programme successfully

The programme was attended by Regional Director of Agriculture, Dr. Cyril Quist and all the Municipal and District Agric officers in region.

 

Source: modernghana.com

USAID Honors Fisherfolk For Actions Toward Improved Food Security

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana

 

Accra, GHANA—On March 7, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Ghana’s Fisheries Commission, hosted an awards ceremony at Nungua beach to honor fishing communities and associations for their exemplary work to protect Ghana’s marine ecosystems and fish stocks. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Honorable Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, and USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen attended and delivered remarks.

A total of18 fishing communities, associations and individuals residing along Ghana’s coastline were rewarded and honored for adopting responsible fishing practices. The awards ceremony aims to recognize women and men who support sustainable post-harvest practices and the preservation of Ghana’s marine ecosystems. SMFP, under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, works to rebuild fish stocks in Ghana and to curb overfishing.

“USAID is committed to working with the Government of Ghana to encourage the adoption of responsible fishing practices to prevent the depletion of Ghana’s fish stocks,” remarked Mr. Chen. “The purpose of this awards program is to spotlight outstanding leadership and dedication among individuals, communities and associations in the fishing sector, demonstrating good fishing management and practice.”

The awards ceremony, which is being held for the first time this year, will be held annually and will celebrate heroes of change in Ghana’s fisheries sector. The awards target institutions, associations, individuals and communities. Over 60 applications were received from Ghana’s four coastal regions. This event was organized by Feed the Future. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to increase the competitiveness of the fisheries, maize, rice and soy value chains to generate economic growth and market opportunities for vulnerable populations.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign gets to Volta Region

By: Ivy Setordjie,Joy News, Volta Region

The Volta regional technical committee for the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign has been inaugurated in the Volta Region with a call on the youth and the public to go into commercial farming.

A total of 7,914 farmers made of 5,885 males and 1,797 females have been registered for the campaign with the region registering 4,862 maize farmers to cultivate a total area of 14,400 Ha.

This means that the campaign’s target under maize production has been fully met. Hybrid maize would be established in the middle belt while the Open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) would be established in the southern and northern sectors of the region.

For rice, a total of 2,219 farmers have so far been registered and an area of 7,591Ha has been recorded and a deficit of 11,695 Ha of land is yet to be covered.

For vegetable production, a total 601 farmers have been registered for the cultivation of 2,499 Ha of land.

The Volta Region Minister, Archibald Yao Letsa, who Chairs the committee in a speech recently advised unemployed youth to go into farming to help increase food and raw material production instead of seeking for non-existing white-collar jobs.

He said Agriculture was a lucrative business if properly invested in.

He reminded the youth that venturing into farming would make them self-reliant and employers in the future.

He said that the advice to the youth has become imperative in view of the importance of farming to national growth and development.

“I want our youths to use their youthful agility toward commercial food production. This effort will enable them to improve their revenue base and become self-sufficient apart from contributing to national food security.” Dr Letsa said.

According to him, if many the youth go into commercial agriculture they would be able to cultivate many varieties during both rainy and dry seasons.

The minister also advised that the farming business requires patience, resilience, and commitment.

He reiterate the need for registered farmers to be educated  on the projects ongoing

He also announced that a lot of investors are interested in investing in the agric sector in the region, especially in the light of the current administration’s drive to establish a factory every district in Ghana.

The Regional Director of Agriculture, Samuel Kofi Larbi, said the technical team has been constituted in order to coordinate and monitor the main activities along the five pillars of the campaign.

According to him, the regional technical committee will also monitor the implementation of the program in the municipalities and districts to ensure that municipal and district technical committees which will be constituted to implement activities are captured in the action plan.

He said in line with the action plan for the implementation of the campaign, the regional, as well as the municipal and the district focal persons, have already been appointed and that farmer registration for the campaign are also ongoing.

He has, however, assured the farmers that the regional department of agriculture as well as the various municipal and the districts and departments are fully ready and committed to ensuring a successful implementation of the program.

“We are very much ready and committed to a successful Planting for Food and Jobs program,” he said

A member of the national technical committee, Kwame Amezah, said the policy within the national development agenda is to allow agriculture to contribute to the structural transformation of the economy and maximize the benefits of accelerated growths.

He said significant improvements in the productivity of the agricultural sector are required to raise the average income of Ghanaians.

Achieving sustainable food security in Ghana within the context of a phenomenal growth in population and increasing unemployment is a major challenge to the county development, Dr Amezah lamented

He said the campaign will focus on four key values chains – maize, rice, soybean, and sorghum – and promote peri-urban vegetable production. These will be outdoored for the industrial crops, cash crops, and livestock and others in subsequent years.

In 2008, the governing NPP introduced the fertilizer subsidy program with the aim of enhancing farmer access for increase crop productivity and subsequently growth in the agricultural sector.

The new government says it will continue with the fertilizer subsidy program it introduced in 2008 in addition to other incentives that will enhance the productivity of all category of farmers.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

CSIR releases five new varieties of Cowpea

By Joyce Danso, GNA

 

Accra March 10, GNA – The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the first time in history has released five varieties of cowpea through the exploitation of molecular technology simultaneously.

The varieties are; Zaayura Padi, Soo-Sima, Diffeele, Wang Kae and Kirkhouse Benga one.

Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, Director of Savana Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of CSIR who described the release of the five varieties as ground breaking event, said the varieties had three to four times higher yield than the other cowpeas.

Dr Nutsugah who made this known at the West African Cowpea Consortium (WACC) Annual meeting and Training Session in Accra for 41 participants said CSIR-SARI intends to release the latest varieties this year before the commencement of Ghana’s crop season.

The programme organised by CSIR-SARI and Kirkhouse Trust, a US based firm aimed at strengthening human and institutional capacity for cowpea research as well as providing selected infrastructure and equipment to enhance research capacity in cowpea improvement programme.

In Ghana, it is estimated that farmer yield of cowpea is 0.4 tonnes per hector however the new varieties are expected to increase farmer yield to 1.2 tonnes per hector.

Dr Nutsugah recounted that research into the new five varieties began in 2008 after scientists identified new sources of cowpea aphid resistant genotypes.

The Director of SARI noted that the new varieties were pest and disease resistant and would last longer.

He commended Kirkhouse Trust for bringing together research scientists and other professionals to create and disseminate international public goods that improve production and productivity that are pro-poor, gender equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia, noted that over 75 per cent of cowpea production which took place in sub-Sahara Africa provided primary source of protein, income for small-holder farmers and contributed to subsistence crop farming.

However, he noted that the monetary loss in cowpea estimated between 100 million to one billion dollars annually was worrying.

Professor Timko said that was the reason why WACC and Kirkhouse Trust were building partnership to support cowpea improvement in West Africa through the use of molecular assisted breading and selection.

Dr V.K. Agyeman, Director General, CSIR commended Kirkhouse Trust for their increased and sustained support for research in Ghana

According to Dr Agyeman ‘CSIR-SARI alone has been a major beneficiary of a number of interventions since 2008 with an anticipated funding amounting to $656,333 dollars.’

Dr Agyeman said one of the major challenges of variety development was the expensive process and the long-time development process depending on the crop life cycle and breading strategy adopted.

In addition, the Director General noted that special skills were required to undertake the exercise.

He lauded government’s commitment towards developing agriculture and development of E-agriculture platform to address farmers needed.

Dr Agyeman said CSIR and Ministry of Food and Agriculture would work to ensure that cowpea was inculcated into government’s campaign on Planting for jobs.

He said transformation of livelihoods and reduction of poverty in West African Sub-region could be achieved if resultant low agricultural productivity was reserved.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

Jantong-Daboashie gets Rice Processing Centre

By Albert Futukpor, GNA
Jantong-Daboashie (N/R), March 12, GNA – A Rice Processing Centre, has been inaugurated at Jantong-Daboashie in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region to help farmers to process their rice for improved income.

The GH¢ 216,446 facility, which is to contribute to the reduction of unemployment among the youth and women in the District, has the capacity to process about 100,000 kilogrammes of paddy rice per day.

The facility was provided by the Presbyterian Farmers’ Training and Child Development Programme, (PFT – CDP) a non-governmental organisation, under its Youth and Women Economic Empowerment through Skills Training and Enterprise Development project.

It is being funded by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada.

Reverend Dr Solomon Sumani Sule-Saa, Chairperson of the Northern Presbytery, who spoke during the inauguration of the facility at Jantong-Daboashie, expressed hope that the project would bring relief to the teaming youth and women, who were the backbone of economic transformation in the area.

So far, 80 youth and 40 women have been trained in good agronomic practices and rice processing in the area.

Prior to the provision of the facility, young and adult women carried parboiled rice on their heads and walked for more than 30 kilometres to mill in Tamale while other rice farmers sold paddy rice at cheap prices to middlemen.

Reverend Sule-Saa said opportunities abounded in the District and advised the residents not to migrate to other places in search of better conditions.

Meanwhile, PFT – CDP has also formed 45 Village Savings and Loans Associations in 15 communities in the District where more than GH? 156,000 have been mobilized.

Plans are also on course to roll out Youth Savings and Loans Associations in the area to amongst others mobilise resources for investment.

PFT – CDP also intends to add groundnut shelling machines and subsequently a shea butter extraction plant in the area to boost economic activities.

Mr George Baiden, Country Director of CCFC assured of continued partnership with PFT – CDP to roll out other innovative interventions for the benefit of all.

Alhaji Abdul-Karim Yahaya, District Coordinating Director expressed the District Assembly’s support for the initiative, saying it would help improve incomes of the people.

A representative of the Paramount Chief of Jantong expressed gratitude to PFT – CDP and CCFC for the provision of the facility, which would enable residents to add value to rice produced.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Gov’t to distribute 180,000 tonnes of fertilizer to farmers in 2017

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that as part of measures to modernise and transform the agricultural sector, government will continue with the fertilizer subsidy programme.

The programme, he said, will improve productivity, help achieve food security and crop profitability for farmers.

Speaking at his first budget presentation in Parliament, the Minister said “In 2017, the ministry will continue the fertilizer subsidy programme to help increase the productivity of farmers.

“To this effect, we intend to distribute nationwide, an expected 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer [to farmers].”

The fertilizer subsidy programme was first introduced in June 2008 by the John Kufuor government, covering three types of inorganic fertilizer, Sulphate of Ammonia, Urea and Compound fertilizer.

The programme was designed as in intervention meant to help increase food production at the peak of the global financial, food and energy crisis that was adversely affecting poor countries.

However, this programme, together with the many others introduced to boost the agric sector have not exactly achieved expected results.

FARMER NEW

The sector has witnessed a steady decline and production levels have fallen consistently over the years.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo-led administration will, in the medium term, put measures in place to ensure that the sector bounces back.

This will begin with the launch of the planting for food and jobs campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage all citizens, both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full or part-time activity.

It is intended to be structured along the lines of the erstwhile ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ programme in the 1970s.

The campaign will involve the production of maize, rice, soya beans, sorghum and vegetables, other crops will be adopted in subsequent years.

The Minister said it will be anchored on five pillars; provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing and e-agriculture and monitoring.

He added that the initiative is “expected to increase the production of maize by 30 percent from the current production levels, rice by 49 percent, soya beans by 25 percent and sorghum  by 28 percent. This will create 750,000 both jobs direct and indirect employment.”

He indicated that the agriculture ministry will provide improved seeds to augment any shortfall for the planting for food and jobs campaign.

Fishermen

Fisheries sector

On fisheries, Mr Ofori-Atta said efforts have been made over the years to boost both marine and inland fishing and support aquaculture development and government intends to do more.

It will begin with the modernization of fishing methods to ensure sustainable fishing and also improve production levels.

“To modernise and transform the industry, the ministry will complete the first phase of the Anomabo fisheries college to enhance research and knowledge base in fisheries technology for all operators.

“It will also collaborate with relevant institutions and the private sector to develop modern landing sites and storage facilities at Cape Coast, Jamestown and Axim,” he said.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Agriculture Analysis On The 2017 Budget – Ilapi – Ghana

By:  Peter Bismark Kwofie

Agric Minister Dr. Akoto Osei

 

The solution of the NPP’s government to a seeming declining agricultural sector in the #Budget2017 is to modernize the sector and to improve productivity. Measures outlined, inter alia include: Provision of improved seeds; supply of fertilizers; provision of dedicated extension services; marketing and E-agriculture; and monitoring.

Concerns:
The measures indicated how much fertilizer will be supplied to achieve this objective, 180,000 metric tonnes for the year. It also indicated it will import improved seeds to augment the program. However,

1. One question here is why import improved seeds to augment? Improved and certified seeds could be obtained from MoFA, our universities and other research institutions like the CSIR.

2. No specifics were provided as to how much of these seeds will be supplied? How many Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) will be trained, recruited or deployed to various stations across the country for this program?

3. How are the goods in question going to be marketed, by which means, is it that government itself will deploy buyers at farm gate to buy these goods? Are the produce going to be sold processed or in raw form?

4. Any plans in place to arrest postharvest losses, which is one major challenge for farmers, especially those producing cereals? What of packaging?

5. In terms of monitoring, how is it going to be done/achieved? How is progress going to be measured and evaluated?

6. Most importantly, the budget did not indicate how much it will cost to achieve each of these objectives. No detail information and specifics were shared on this.

7. The budget also did not provide specific timelines to achieve each of these objectives.

Main Focus: The Planting for Food and Jobs Program.

This is to encourage all citizens (both urban and rural) to take up farming as a full or part-time activity. It is intended to structure it along the lines of the erstwhile “Operation Feed Yourself”(OFY) programme in the 1970s under Acheampong’s regime. The program is envisaged to provide jobs to about 750,000 people. This is laudable initiative.

This program will ensure all year food production, improves food security, curb food shortage, provide jobs, improve family income, improve livelihoods, ensures judicious use of land resources, etc. This program is similar to that used in urban agriculture. Countries such as Cuba, for example, successfully used urban agriculture as a means to evade food shortages (See Murphy, 2004), while many developing countries have long been farming within cities and towns for income and subsistence (See Nugent, 2001). Strong institutional efforts and technical assistance will be needed to achieve this.

Concerns:
1. Cost details were not provided.
2. How did they arrive at conclusion of 750,000 jobs?

3. The other projection of 30 percent from current production levels, rice by 49 %, soybean by 25 % and sorghum by 28 %.

4. How did these projections come about when there was no mentioning of the costs involved?

5. No investments plans made for the livestock sector?

6. No plans of irrigation facilities and investments to increase acreage of farmlands?

7. No allocation made for climate smart agriculture initiatives and investments to boost production for farmers especially in the face of climate change? This is another external shock facing the agricultural sector. Climate change, leading to delayed and erratic rain pattern in some parts of our agricultural industrial areas, and this natural phenomenon has affected agricultural output drastically.

8. Access to credits by farmers? This is a major issue facing farmers. The budget failed to elaborate on that but still seeking to subsidize farm inputs in the short term.

9. How much allocation made for research initiatives towards achieving these objectives?

10. Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The budget failed to tackle the GMO situation and its commercialization in the country. One major concern is that the importation of the said improved seeds would lead to introduction of GMOs into the country. Farmers and the general public are ignorant of these GMOs and would there be public education on this mystery seeds before it implementation?

The Ghana National Biosafety Authority has issued Guidelines on handling requests for the use of GMOs in Ghana. This is in accordance with Section 40(3) of the Biosafety Act, which mandates the Authority to issue guidelines on its operations. This was not captured in the budget as to how the regulation would be carried with cost and evaluation tendencies. The plant breeder bill has faced a lot of heckles in the years with civil societies asking for further amendments to avert certain uncertainties. The procedures that any individual or entity need to go through in requesting approval to undertake confined field trials, commercialise, import and export GMOs out of the country needs a better education to sensitize the populace. This obviously denotes that, no matter how the agitation to GMOs in the country, the government would still legalize it use.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is currently undertaking field trials of GMO cotton, cowpea and rice as part of approval procedures before they could be released onto the market. However, information getting to the desk of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation is alleged that there are cabalistic distributions of GMO seeds to farmers in some parts of the country even though commercialization has not begun.

STATISTICS
Agriculture has been the principal sector for the development and growth of the economy in the past years. The contribution of agriculture to GDP in the other years is: 2010 – 29.8%, 2011 – 25.3%, 2012 – 22.9%, 2013 – 22.4%, 2014 – 21.5%. It dropped from 31.8% in 2009 to 29.8% in 2010, representing 2% GDP contribution lost. In 2011, agriculture’s contribution dropped by 4.5% to 25.3% while 2012 recorded a 2.4%.

The year 2013 recorded a 0.5% drop in the contribution of agriculture from 22.9% in 2012 to 22.4% in 2013. Total spending on Agriculture Modernisation in 2015 amounted to GH¢27.04 million against a budget of GH¢30.57 million. Of this amount, spending on Food and Agriculture infrastructure amounted to GH¢26.24 million. This was particularly for the construction and rehabilitation of dams and irrigation infrastructure and fertiliser subsidy.

Additionally, GH¢0.80 million was advanced towards the construction of the Fisheries College and aquaculture development. On the food, which food programs were carried out? Are there any national food storage facilities? NO! We stand to be corrected. Subsidies are medieval, a negative sum transaction and enables government spending and corruption. It would be good to bring into light the allocated amount for fertilizer subsidies, including how many farmers benefited and the outcome of this welfare practice.

The Agriculture Sector is expected to record an average growth rate of 3.3% in the medium term from the 2017 Budget. The Sector is expected to record a growth of 3.5% for both 2016 and 2017, declining to 3.0% in 2018. This may not be able to accounts for about 40% of GDP and generates 60% of foreign exchange earnings in the medium term. What we produce may feed the one-district-one-factory projects and the quality of the finished produce may or may not attract export. Government cut its 2016 expenditure on the sector by GHC40 million despite growth in the sector stalling to 0.04%.

In 2015 government’s budgeted expenditure on the agricultural sector is GHC395.19 million while for 2016, GHC355.14 million was been budgeted, indicating a 10.1% decrease. By the end of September 2015, GHC91.54 million had been spent out of the GHs395.19 million budgeted. Out of the GHC91.54 million spent, about GHs82.57 million of this actual sector expenditure, representing 90.21%, was spent on poverty-focused expenditures and still there is poverty.

There are lots of activities that go on in the service sector better and more than the agricultural sector shifting the goal post to the former. Agriculture was the main source of growth and foreign exchange until when oil production replaced it as the cornerstone of growth for the formal economy. In 2015 the GDP growth of the service sector accrued GHs17,470.0 million and agriculture once the backbone and mainstay of Ghana’s economy made GHs 7,365.o million.

The Industry Sector is projected to record an average growth rate of 13.2% in the medium-term, the highest rate among the sectors. The Sector is expected to grow by 17% in 2016, 18.3% in 2017, and 14.3% in 2018. If the growth of industries demand exceeds the productions of raw materials from the agricultural sector, local industries would have no option than to import raw materials to meet the deficits.

In 2015, GDP from Manufacturing in Ghana was GH¢ 2,288.0 million which is far below that of agriculture GH¢7,365.0 million. However, industrialization is expected to increase and would put pressure on raw materials from our farms. We export more of our raw materials than we import and this may intern lead to the importation of raw materials for our industries. Care must be taken not to get it twisted. Switzerland exports finished products such as pharmaceutical products, tools and equipment and vehicles to Ghana whiles we export raw materials such as Gold, cocoa and Cashew nuts. To digress, in 2014 alone, the volume of trade between Switzerland and Ghana hit $1.8 billion and has since been rising every year. Within the same period, Ghana imported $14.8 billion, making it the 87th largest importer in the world. Ghana imports tones of snails, and fresh vegetables from its regional neighbours. The budget failed to address importation except that of fingerlings.

Over the last five years, the imports of Ghana have increased at an annualized rate of 13.7% from $7.8 billion in 2009 to $14.8 billion in 2014 and about 70% are finished goods. Switzerland imported over $2 billion worth of gold from Ghana in 2016 alone for conversion to finished products for the world market. This shows an overwhelming increase of about $90 million dollars over the 2015 figure of $1 billion. The new government must endeavour to stabilising the economy and laying the best foundation for a sustainable, accelerated and job creating agro-based industrial growth.

COMMENTARY
In Ghana, the Government’s role in agriculture over the years has been extensive as reflected in the public expenditures and programmes until the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme in 1983. During that period, prior to the Sector Agricultural Policy (SAP), the BOG initiated a number of projects in line with the intervention policies of the day, intended to boost the agricultural sector of the economy. These policies led to the implementation of agricultural development schemes such as the Cocoa Bill Financing Scheme, Grains Bill Financing Scheme, Grains Warehousing Company. Other Bank of Ghana Agricultural projects include, Shai Hills Cattle Ranch, Agricultural Development Company (ADC), Wulugu Livestock Company, and the Jukwa, Okumanin, Fosu and Akwamsrerm (JoFA) Project. With the exception of the JOFA project, which was partially successful, the other projects did not achieve their set objectives due to inappropriate policies adopted by their managements. (Agriculture Sector policy-BOG, 2003)

For the implementation of programmes and activities in the cocoa, livestock and the plant ecology in 2017, an amount of GH₵501,501,708.00 has been allocated. Out of this, GH₵322,094,227.00 is from the government of Ghana, GH₵4,065,650.00 is internally generated fund and GH₵175,341,831.00 is from Development Partners. Local Poultry production to meet domestic demand as against high imports of frozen chicken was silent in the budget. There were no estimated outturns on expenditure in the sub-sector. The Savannah Accelerated Development Agency (SADA) also failed to be mentioned as an agency to see to the implementation of major agricultural programmes in the Northern Sector. SADA is heavily donor funded as an autonomous agency to boost development with its action plan but their needs were absent to be addressed.

Most agricultural projects depended heavily on the Ministry of Agriculture mediatorships resulting in top-down planning and implementation, less satisfactory relevance and cost-effectiveness and poor ownership of the programmes by the beneficiaries. These ‘’monocultural’’ government interventions have taken place year after year and the 2017 budget failed to give meaningful structural operational system to avert the ulcerations. From the 2017 Budget, GH₵52,706,712.00 has been allocated for the fishery sector of which GH₵28,857,495.00 is from the Government of Ghana, GH₵11,875,210.00 is internally generated funds (IGF), and GH₵11,974,008.00 is from Development Partners. With this, an amount of $500 million is expected from the shrimps, Mollusca, clams and tilapia earnings and estimated amount of $42 million net savings in the aquaculture production. The central government is funding more than 50% of the allocated money to the ministry and about 26% from donors and 24% from IGF.

To ensure a lasting sustainability of new projects in a decentralized manner, with most of the planning, implementation and decision-making taking place at the district level, the private sector must be allowed to play a major role to squeezing out the best tasteful liquid from the rock.

‘’In 2016, the Ministry will rehabilitate public laboratories at Koforidua, Kumasi, Tamale and Ho’’. This is a 2017 budget and not 2016 and that care must be taken with what is written to allow for accountability. Fish extension service delivery will focus on disease detection, prevention and control particularly in the Aquaculture sub-sector. Setting a fishery laboratory in Koforidua is a misplaced priority. No fishing activities go on in the Eastern capital to have such facility. The Afram Plains and akosombo are where active fishing activities takes place. Why in Koforidua?

Agricultural growth might be slow this year due to the prevailing adverse macroeconomic conditions and the IMF conditionalities unless otherwise there is production incentives induced by the economic reforms, in the medium Term. The agriculture sector should not be used as means for poverty reduction strategy done in the past but Modernization of agriculture based on rural development, agribusiness focussing on domestic consumption and export , easy access to lands as in property rights, assisting the private sector to increase food production through facilitating extensions, research and financial services, and irrigation facilities and improving on the use of technology in giving soil, soil fertility, improved seeds and weather information and communication and means to economic freedom in the long term. A national land policy is needed to demarcate lands for agriculture and real estate developments.

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Source: modernghana.com