Ghana’s Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia Monday opened a consultative forum towards the development of a comprehensive and integrated agricultural plan for the country.
The forum assembled critical thinkers in the industry to brainstorm towards putting together an agenda to make agricultural modernization a reality.
Bawumia said the vision of President Akufo-Addo was to inject renewed energy and the right spirit to reinvigorate the agricultural sector and also motivate young people to view and engage in it as a viable business.
He said despite implementing many policy and program interventions in agriculture since the turn of the millennium, Ghana was yet to realize fully the desired results in modernizing agriculture and transforming the sector to catalyze an industrial growth through agro-based manufacturing.
According to him, Ghana needs consistency and comprehensiveness if the transformational integration process is to provide it with the requisite coordination and harmonization for the different initiatives and programs to deal with the country’s agricultural challenges.
“As major stakeholders, help set the stage towards this ambitious plan to drive and attract investments to this critical sector of our economy. Yes, we have discovered oil but let us do with agriculture what a finite natural resource could never do for our people,” Bawumia said.
In the past decade and-a-half, agriculture’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has fallen behind services and industry, falling as low as 0.8 percent in 2011 in part due to the coming of oil and gas production.
Though the sector improved its contribution to GDP to 2.3 percent in 2012 and 5.2 percent in 2013, its performance declined subsequently, prompting observers to suggest that Ghana’s agriculture may be suffering from the conventional Dutch Disease.
This happens where agricultural production suffers because of the flight of labor and capital into more lucrative non-agriculture producing sectors.
Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, called on the forum to discuss all key challenges of the sector and volunteer comprehensive solutions for Cabinet’s consideration.
The agriculture master plan is expected to be the focus of the country’s next budget to be read this month. Enditem