Agric Is Stagnant …Says NPP Minority
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Select Committee on Agriculture has described the government's performance in the agricultural sector over the years as stagnant and sluggish, leading to hunger and malnutrition among Ghanaians.
At a press conference at Goaso in the Asunafo North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region, attended by leadership of the NPP parliamentary caucus and farmers in the region, the party's ranking minister for food and agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, statistically catalogued how poor the Mahama-led government has failed in the sector, saying 'if allowed to continue, will grind the economy to a halt.'
The minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Owusu Afriyie Akoto and the Sunyani West MP, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, also briefed journalists on the sinking agricultural sector.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto noted that growth rate of agriculture from 2008 to 2012 reduced from 7.4% to 0.8 percent and appreciated a little from 2013 to 2014 from 5.2 percent to 5.3 %. He said the crop sector alone recorded a growth of 3.6 percent in 2014.
He described the targeted budgetary growth of 5.8% in 2015 as overstated because it would not work due to sharp reduction in cocoa production – less than 700,000 metric tonnes – and also rising retail prices of fertilizer and other farm inputs in 2015.
According to him, annual growth of 3.8 % from the last five years with an average oil growth of 6.7%, would lead to the Dutch disease, if care was not taken.
On staple food production, Dr Owusu Afriyie said maize and rice production had been fluctuating leading to increase in import – from 384,400 metric tonnes in 2009 to 645,000 metric tons in 2013. There was however, steady growth in root and tuber production, attributing this to 'Kufuor's policies.'
He said meat import increased from 2009 to 2013. Again, poultry import shot up from 69,000 metric tonnes in 2009 to 148,000 in 2013, observing, 'Government's policy on broiler re-vitalization is a failure.'
On premix fuel, Dr. Akoto said fisher folks used to buy a litre of premix for GH¢1.78 which has doubled between 2013 and 2015.
He attributed the historical peak performance in cocoa production from 2010 to 2011 to President Kufuor's NPP administration's mass spraying and high technology initiatives. But due to poor NDC policies, he noted, production had declined to a lower level of 700,000 metric tonnes in the 2014/2015 crop season.
From Daniel Y Dayee, Goaso