Business News of Saturday, 2 December 2017
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana’s survival was imperilled in the last 10 years when the contribution of the Agric sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined.
He said the GDP contribution of the sector started plummeting in 2007, resulting in a major fall from “a high of 42 percent to a low of 18.5 percent in 2016.” At the 33rd National Farmers Day celebration in Kumasi Friday, the president said Ghanaians stand to gain more if the sector witnesses the needed growth.
But at the moment, issues such as “post-harvest loss, low productivity, weak industry, low application of technology, land tenure issue, weaknesses along the agriculture value chain” are responsible for the “flagging misfortunes” of the sector, he noted.
The contribution of agriculture to Ghana’s GDP has been fluctuating for the past 10 years, a development experts have blamed on neglect by past regimes. The GDP contribution of the sector increased from ¢5,322million in 2007 to ¢7,790.18 in 2016. But it has not been stable.
But knowing the potential benefits in the sector, president Akufo-Addo said his government is working to address the challenges affecting its growth.
The president said his government is operationalizing a “comprehensive plan” to enhance food security and improve farm productivity to create more jobs.
“I am persuaded that there is still a lot to be gained from modernizing and investing in agriculture,” he said. Already, the crop section has benefited from various interventions in the form of distribution of improved seeds, improve extension services and equipment, he said.
President Akufo-Addo said some farmers and operators are also being trained to professionally operate the machinery given them under the ‘More food international’ programme.
He announced the measures are aimed at ensuring a smooth transition from subsistence agriculture to a more business-centred one that will open up the sector. “But not to the neglect of any sub-sector,” the president said.
President Akufo-Addo also announced plans to construct about “320 small dams and dug out sites” in some 64 districts in the northern part of Ghana. “Additionally, 192 will be evaluated in 2018 for development,” he said, adding, a provisional list of 51 dams in the Volta, Central and Greater Accra Regions will be considered.
At the end of the celebration, a 50-year-old farmer from the Brong Ahafo Region, Philip Kweku Agyeman, was adjudged the 2017 National Best Farmer.
He became the first farmer to walk home with $100,000 cash prize after the government changed the Awards package given to the 2016 winners. The 2017 National Farmers Day celebration, was under the theme: ‘Farming for food and jobs.’