Government has rubbished claims by the Minority New Patriotic Party in Parliament that the country’s agriculture sector is on the brink of collapse.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan said on the contrary, the country is experiencing an unprecedented period of food security.
He was speaking to Joy News’ Evans Mensah, Monday, in an apparent reaction to the Minority’s press conference on agriculture.
The Minority painted a rather bleak picture of an agric sector that is virtually on its knees.
Dr Afriyie Akoto MP for Kwadaso who addressed the conference stated that the country has over the past four years seen a slump in performance in the agric sector.
“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.
He named growing unemployment, high cost of food stuffs and a general increase in the cost of living as the consequences for the poor performance in the agric sector.
But the government vehemently disagrees.
Deputy Agriculture Minister said the country has never been this food secure.
He said the NPP has been comparing the agriculture sector with other sectors of the economy which appears to be on the increase and has erroneously come to the conclusion that the sector is declining.
“When we want to analyse the progress in the agricultural sector…, it is important to compare agriculture to itself. The agric sector does not have control over the rest of the economy,” he explained.
He said of the six topmost crops consumed in Ghana- maize, cassava, yam, rice, plantain cocoyam- it is only rice that is in short supply. All the others are in surplus.
“That is not the sector that can be described as failing,” he insisted.