August 12, 2013

The Minority New Patriotic Party in Parliament is accusing the ruling government of running down the country’s agricultural sector.

Spokesperson for Agric sector, Dr Afriyie Akoto at a press conference in Parliament on Monday said the crippling performance in agriculture is yet another story of a government that has failed to honour its campaign promise to the people.

According to him, the NDC in its manifesto promised to modernise the sector and to ensure that the standard of living for farmers are improved greatly.

But that promise, he noted, has been broken, with the situation getting even worse.

“By the measure of annual growth performance, Ghana’s agriculture has been grinding to a virtual halt since the 2007 farming season. From negative 1.7% in drought-hit 2007, agricultural growth recovered strongly to 7.4% in 2008, 7.2% in 2009 and then slowed to 5.3% in 2010. Growth hit the bottom of 0.8% in 2011, then stayed down at 1.3% in 2012,” he said.

Dr Akoto blamed the policy options of the NDC government which include taxes on agriculture inputs, limited budgetary allocation to the agric sector etc. as contributing chiefly to the stagnation of the country’s agriculture sector.

He said the worsening performance in agriculture has deleterious effect on the mass of Ghanaians.

“There are far reaching implications of such a poor growth performance for both the economy and the citizenry. Consider the fact that the agricultural sector continues to provide the greatest employment opportunities for majority of our workforce; provides a substantial part of our foreign exchange earnings; and the fact that the poorest in our society are found among the 4.5 million farmers and fisher folks who reside in the rural areas.

The drastic slowdown of agricultural growth means rising unemployment, increasing malnutrition and deepening poverty especially, in
the rural areas with the consequent acceleration of migration of kayayei and other deprived persons to the urban centres with all the related social dislocation we are already witnessing,” he pointed out.

He named the fishing industry, cocoa sector and meat production as the worst affected sectors in agriculture and called for a more pragmatic solution to the problem.