The report which was titled “Building Resiliency for Upcoming Challenges: The Need to Restore Confidence in Smallholder Farmers” was released by SEND Ghana, an international non-governmental organization. It noted that although government’s budgetary allocations to the agriculture sector had gone up, several factors had accounted for its low growth.
These included disconnect between how most local government institutions defined the focus of their budgets vis-a-vis the national agenda of modernizing agriculture.
Other factors were gender disparities in investments beneficiaries and access to support services, unequal access to support services, as well as reliance on self-selection for identification of program and project beneficiaries.
The report said although over the past few years government had been consistent in hitting the minimum of 10 percent of national budget for agriculture, as set by the 2003 Maputo Declaration, as far as investment in the sector was concerned, this did not translate into sector growth in 2011.
African leaders who gathered in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2003, made a commitment to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.
Although on the average, Ghana’s agriculture sector has been growing by 5.5 percent over the last five years, growth in 2011 was 0.8 percent, compared with 5.5 percent in 2010, observed the report.
The sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) also declined from 29.8 percent in 2010 to 25.6 percent in 2011, with Ghana ranking 34 among 88 countries 2008 on the Global Hunger Project.
“These developments indicate that although there has been a leap in reducing poverty and hunger, Ghana still has some way to go,” the report noted.
Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu said the report finding was in line with observations already made by the government which informed some major policy variations being developed.
“Small-scale farming has been the savior of Ghana for a very long time and shall continue to be in the foreseeable future. So the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is structured to deliver services to small-scale farmers,” he added.
Yakubu explained that although the report pointed out that the additional funding going to the agriculture sector investment was not yielding the envisaged results due to the fact that the research, which was carried out in the three Northern Regions, was looking for short-term results from such long-term investment projects.
He said government was going to factor the report and similar findings into its policy thinking for the sector.