Yendi (NR), May 1, GNA - A day's forum on awareness creation on agriculture policies has been held at Yendi in the Northern Region.
It was organized by the Evangelical Presbyterian Development and Relief Agency (EPDRA) and sponsored by the USAID Ghana's Feed Future Agriculture Policy Support Project, and drew 40 participants from Yendi Municipal, Saboba and Chereponi districts, as well as other government institutions and Civil Society Organisations.
Topics treated included Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II), Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) and the role of Civil Society Organizations.
In his welcome address Mr. Joshua Nyaaba, Acting Coordinator for Evangelical Presbyterian Development and Relief Agency (EPDRA) North, said EPDRA had identified a serious knowledge gap among agricultural sector stakeholders in the country.
Mr. Nyaaba stated that before they could engage in any serious policy dialogue they must first of all create public awareness on the country's agricultural policies for people to have good knowledge and understanding of those policies to make effective and relevant contributions towards the national development.
He indicated that it was against this background that EPDRA, North in collaboration with USAID Ghana saw it relevant to organize awareness creation forum on agriculture policies for the participants with the theme, 'What we must know', to broaden their understanding of the FASDEP II and METASIP concepts.
The Acting Coordinator explained that agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaians economy, with a policy document known as Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy.
'It has a five-year implementation plan known as Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP)', he said, adding that the presence of those two documents demonstrated government's commitment to the growth of agriculture in the country.
Mr. Nyaaba noted that the mandate of METASIP would end in 2015, after which there was supposed to be a review of the project.
Mr. Langkuu Festus Aaron, Regional Environmental/Fertilizer Desk Officer who facilitated the forum, said the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II) was developed in 2002 as a framework for the implementation of the strategies for the modernization of the agricultural sector.
He indicated that the strategies in the policies were based on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy (AAGDS) prepared in 1996, and that nearly four years after the implementation of FASDEP I, it became necessary to revise the policy based on the lessons learnt and the changing needs of the sector.
According to the Desk Officer, METASIP was a medium term agricultural investment plan that had been developed to achieve a target of 6 per cent annual growth in agriculture GDP, and halving poverty by 2015 in consonance with MDG I.
He added that this was based on government expenditure allocation in the national budget of at least 10 per cent within the plan period (2011 -2015).