Illiteracy poses problems for agric sector -Census Report
In the 2010 PHC, data collated on agricultural activities in the country showed that the population of agricultural households in 2010 was 13,366,340 and accounted for 54.2 per cent of the total population.
For the purpose of the census, an agricultural household was defined as where, at least, one person in the household was engaged in any type of farming activity, be it crop farming, tree growing, livestock rearing and fish farming.
The report which was put together by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the national data compilation body, said 31.5 per cent of the agricultural household members had no formal education, 60.3 per cent had up to middle school level education and 8.2 per cent had secondary school education or higher.
Also, among the heads of agricultural households, 44.1 per cent had no formal education, 35.2 per cent had up to middle school education and the remaining 10.7 per cent had post-middle school education.
These statistics are worrying for a country that is touted as an agriculture dominant economy because it employs a large per cent of the population.
Again, with the call for the introduction of modernised farming technologies in the agriculture sector to help improve yield, it becomes a challenge if the people who would use it do not have the needed capacity to do so.
“The high proportion of low level of education among agricultural population has implications for the sector as the adoption of modern farming technologies requires relatively higher levels of education and literacy, particularly in English language,” the report explained.
It also posited that with the low level of formal education and literacy among heads of agricultural households, as well as the other members engaged in farming activities, there should be a concerted effort to improve the literacy level of agricultural and rural populations.
In the 2010 PHC, specific questions were asked, for the first time, on households in farming activities, namely crop farming, tree growing, livestock rearing and fish farming.
The report showed that of agricultural households, 95.1 per cent were engaged in crop farming, 40.5 per cent were in livestock rearing while only 1.1 per cent was in tree growing and 0.2 per cent in fish farming.
In six of the regions, the proportions of agricultural households engaged in crop farming exceeded 95.0 per cent, with the highest proportions in the Ashanti (96.8%), Upper East (96.7%), and Brong Ahafo regions (96.6%) while the lowest proportion was 80.2 per cent in the Greater Accra region.
On tree growing, the report revealed that 4.5 per cent of households practised in the Greater Accra and 2.0 per cent in Brong Ahafo region. “In six of the regions, the proportions were below 1.0 per cent, with the least being in the Upper East (0.4%), Western (0.5%) and Volta regions (0.6%).”
Forty per cent of the agricultural households were in livestock rearing and the regions with the highest proportions are the three in the northern savannah agro-ecological, namely, Upper East (82.8%), Upper West (63.7%) and northern regions (60.9%).
In the rest of the seven regions, the proportions were below 40.0 per cent except the Eastern Region which had a proportion of 41.5 per cent. The lowest proportions were in the Ashanti (25.4%) and Western regions (29.1%).
The report also showed that the proportion of agricultural households engaged in fish farming was low in all the regions. The highest proportion was only 0.5 per cent in Greater Accra Region, followed by Western Region (0.4%) and Eastern Region (0.3%). In three regions, namely Central, Volta and Northern, the proportions were the same as the national average (0.2%). In the remaining four regions, namely Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West, the proportion was 0.1 per cent.
The Acting Census Cordinator of the GSS, Mr David Kombat, explained to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that Agriculture was still the main employer of the economy, with about 42 per cent, and as such efforts must be made to address the issue of illiteracy currently facing the sector.
The report also recommended the reactivation of the non-formal adult education programme (which has been stalled) and to be targeted to rural areas where agriculture is predominantly practised.
The 2010 Census gathered information from each individual present in Ghana on September 26, 2010; the Census also collected data on all living quarters in Ghana as of September 26, 2010.
Beyond providing benchmark data for planning as released in the final results of the 2010 census in May 2012, the detailed analysis, according to Mr Kombat, is aimed at enhancing understanding of the effectiveness of the various interventions initiated by government and its collaborators to improve the lives of Ghanaians.
By Jessica Acheampong/Graphic Business