Business News of Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Government has been urged to increase the oil revenue allocation to the agriculture sector since the sector has greater redistributive effect.
Dr Amin Anta Mohammed, the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, who made the call during a multi-stakeholders forum on spending strategy of oil revenue in Ghana, said empirical research had shown that Agricultural investment had greater redistributive effect.
The Forum was organized by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy and NORPRA to account to stakeholders on an advocacy programme it carried out on the topic, “Oil for Agric Campaign”, last year with their support.
The Executive Director stressed that the increased investment in smallholder agriculture could accelerate poverty reduction as majority of citizens lived in rural agrarian communities.
“It is very important to increase the revenue of oil pumped into the agriculture sector to help promote oil based agriculture led development as a model in Africa. Empirically, agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than industrial investments. Agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect”.
He said oil countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Chile invested so much of their oil revenue into Agriculture and that led to poverty reduction and accelerated development.
He cited for instance that Indonesia used its oil rents to supply fertilizer to farmers and develop new crops, building the basis for the country’s green revolution and also invested heavily in agricultural research to identify new commodities that helped improve on its export potential.
The Executive Director said research showed that at the national level, agricultural public expenditures had its highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity and lamented that in spite of the potential of the sector to contribute to the country’s development, there continued to exist a wide funding gap in public expenditure.
He said if Ghana was to become a full middle-income country by 2015 and experience a decline in poverty rates of almost 70 percent, the share of agricultural expenditure in public spending would have to almost double from the current 8.5 to 14.1 per cent
Stakeholders at the forum included Civil Society Organizations, Government Departments, Youth Activist and Opinion leaders.
Mr Bismark Ayorogo Adongo , the President of The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy(NORPRA) stated that the Northern , Upper East and Upper West Region had huge agriculture potential and when given the needed attention could help reduce poverty in the area.