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05.03.2009 General News

Gov`t promises to curtail lip service to Agro Sector

By Chris Twum - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, has pledged the government's commitment to the country's agricultural development.

Mr. Ahwoi said this at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), which was on the theme “Organising Agriculture Workers for Developments: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects,” held at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in Accra on Friday.

According to the Minister, “the government of Ghana would not pay lip service to the developmental growth of the agriculture sector,” adding that government would accelerate and enhance the modernisation of agriculture in the country, with the aim of increasing productivity.

Mr. Ahwoi explained further that the core importance of the current government was the agricultural policy of determining to cede off a substantial part of its labour force to other needy and critical sector of the economy.

The Minister therefore called on the leadership of GAWU, to join hands with the government of Ghana, to help implement the Strategy for Accelerated Modernisation of Agriculture (SAMA), which aims at creating thousands of jobs in new areas of exports, manufacturing, industry and services.

“The government's strategy for SAMA would be providing easier and faster access to marketing centres for agricultural produce, scaling up credit support facilities for agriculture producers, providing support for operatives in the sector for procurement of improved seeds, planting materials and quality livestock breeding stocks, pesticides and fertilizers,” he noted.

Mr. Ahwoi further entreated the leadership of GAWU to incorporate these objectives into the activities of their year-long celebration, in partnership with stakeholders, to ensure the smooth implementation and actualisation of the SAMA.

The General Secretary of GAWU, Mr. Kingsely Ofei-Nkansah, observed that the current poor state of the agricultural sector in the country was the result of inactivity on the part of previous governments in enhancing the sector, as he called on the current government to endeavour to improve the sector.

Mr. Ofie-Nkansah challenged the government to render support to small scale food farmers, to make the country self-sufficient in food, especially rice and poultry, meant for domestic and the sub-regional markets.

“A trade union like GAWU believes developments in agriculture mean meeting both the social and economic needs of the people in the rural milieu,” he added.

The General Secretary then called for the progressive realisation of more employment to ensure quality employment, and the eradication of poverty in the country, especially in the rural areas, to ensure a progressive reduction of inequalities and the removal of iniquities in the Ghanaian society.

Ghana remains a primarily agriculture-driven economy, which continues to dominate all sectors of the country's economy. The sector currently accounts for well over 35 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 33 per cent of Net Foreign Exchange Earnings, and provides a livelihood for close to 60 per cent of the national population.

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