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16 February 2017 | Letters

Reintroduction Of Agriculture Science As A Subject In Basic Schools Will Boost One Village, One Dam And Planting For Food And Jobs Projects In Our Future Generation

Dr. Matthew Opuku Prempeh
Reintroduction Of Agriculture Science As A Subject In Basic Schools Will Boost One Village, One Dam And Planting For Food And Jobs Projects In Our Future Generation



Dear Sir/Madam,

I am deeply sad to pen down this letter. I am sad because Agriculture which used to be the backbone of the Ghanaian Economy is now being relegated to the dustbin as far as our current Junior High School education is concerned. The situation has also transcended to Senior High Schools and the Universities as well. Current intake of students to study Agriculture in the Senior High Schools has declined drastically and even few Senior High Schools are running agriculture programmes which is even impose on the students not their own choice. It is not surprising that recent figures on growth of Agriculture are very abysmal.

The growth of Agriculture sector for 2015 is 0.04% according to 2016 budget presented by the Minister of Finance, Hon Seth Tekper and growth rate of crops hit negative (-1.7%). This figures blatantly points towards a retrogressing agriculture sector in Ghana.

“The Agricultural Sector has suffered massive neglect. As compared to 2008 when nearly 600 million USD was spent on food imports; in 2014, nearly 1.5 billion USD was spent for importing basic food items including tropical crops such as rice, tomato, palm oil and sugar. In 2013, a whooping 374 million USD was spent alone on rice import”.

The 2016 Budget Statement with theme “Consolidating Progress towards a brighter medium term” further inflicts mores woes to the sector.

Key Observations:
1. Decline in contribution to GDP
Between 2000 and 2008, Agriculture contributed an average of 39% to GDP compared to 26 % for industrial sector and 31% for service sector.

In recent times, however, the sector has become a pale shadow of itself, with a myriad of challenges that have made it highly unattractive and unproductive.

The unattractiveness is reflected in the slump in its contribution to GDP over the last five years. In 2010, the sector contributed 29.9 per cent to GDP; it declined to 25.6 per cent in 2011 and further dipped to 22.7 per cent in 2012.

The dwindling fortunes continued in 2013, with the sector contributing 22.4 per cent to GDP. In 2014, it dipped further to 21.5 per cent.

2. Insignificant Share in Budget
In 2016, a total of 50 billion GHS, the Ministry of Agriculture was allocated equivalent of 1% of the entire budget. The consistency percentage of budget here to are as follows: 2009 (3%), 2012 (1.9%), 2013 (1.03%), 2014 (1.07%), 2015 (1.1%) and 2016 (1%).

3. Decline in Growth Rate
There has been decline in growth rate from 7.4% in 2008 to 0.04% in 2015. The percentages are as follows: 2009 (7.2%), 2010 (5.3%), 2011 (0.8%), 2012 (2.3%), 2013 (5.7%), 2014 (4.6%) and 2015 (0.04%)...Source: IMANI Ghana, December 8, 2015.

The re-introduction of agricultural science in our Junior High Schools to be studied as a subject is of paramount importance in the growth and development of the economy of our country Ghana which is endowed with natural resources that need to be harnessed judiciously for the satisfaction of mankind. Readers will undoubtedly agree with me that this discipline of study had been in existence in our school curriculum since the era of colonies. The study of agriculture science is not a new subject that needs to introduce in our school curriculum. We need to question ourselves the factors responsible for the sluggish progress in agricultural production in our country Ghana.

Let's have a glance on some of the role of Agriculture in Economic Development:

Source of Food Supply: Agriculture is the basic source of food supply of all the countries of the world—whether underdeveloped, developing or even developed. Due to heavy pressure of population in underdeveloped and developing countries and its rapid increase, the demand for food is increasing at a fast rate. If agriculture fails to meet the rising demand of food products, it is found to affect adversely the growth rate of the economy. Raising supply of food by agricultural sector has, therefore, great importance for economic growth of a country.

Source of Foreign Exchange for the Country: Most of the developing countries of the world are exporters of primary products. These products contribute 60 to 70 per cent of their total export earnings. Thus, the capacity to import capital goods and machinery for industrial development depends crucially on the export earning of the agriculture sector. If exports of agricultural goods fail to increase at a sufficiently high rate, these countries are forced to incur heavy deficit in the balance of payments resulting in a serious foreign exchange problem.

Pre-Requisite for Raw Material: Agricultural advancement is necessary for improving the supply of raw materials for the agro-based industries especially in developing countries. The shortage of agricultural goods has its impact upon on industrial production and a consequent increase in the general price level. It will impede the growth of the country's economy. The flour mills, rice shellers, oil mills, bread, meat, milk products, sugar factories, wineries, jute mills, textile mills and numerous other industries are based on agricultural products.

Contribution to Capital Formation: Underdeveloped and developing countries need huge amount of capital for its economic development. In the initial stages of economic development, it is agriculture that constitutes a significant source of capital formation.

Agriculture sector provides funds for capital formation in many ways as:

(i) agricultural taxation,
(ii) export of agricultural products,
(iii) collection of agricultural products at low prices by the government and selling it at higher prices. This method is adopted by Russia and China.

Based on Democratic Notions: If the agricultural sector does not grow at a faster rate, it may result in the growing discontentment amongst the masses which is never healthy for the smooth running of democratic governments. For economic development, it is necessary to minimize political as well as social tensions. In case the majority of the people have to be kindled with the hopes of prosperity, this can be attained with the help of agricultural progress. Thus development of agriculture sector is also relevant on political and social grounds.

The importance of agriculture is too vast to be covered in one discussion. However, the few mentioned above are vital ones to convince our audience particularly those in the education sector to spur young ones to concentrate on agriculture as a vocation and income generating activity. As we are in the era of Education for All (EFA), it is incumbent on us as educationists to bring to the fore the importance of this vital sector of the economy which is scrapped from our curriculum. We certainly deal with adolescents whose minds are ready to absorb good ideas and interpret things on their own with some or little guidance. It is sad that Agriculture Science has been removed from the list of subjects being taught in our Junior High Schools and also in a majority of our second cycle schools Agriculture is being taught theoretically and no practical is given. What is the problem with our education system? Should we not introduce the children to the subject which is the backbone of our economy at their tender ages to see for themselves the beauty of Agriculture?

This is a major concern and a worry to the production and increase of food crops in the country. We can only achieve this when Agriculture Science is re-introduced in our Junior High School, this will help the adolescents to understand the significance of such ventures and the utilization of the land and natural resources around.

This will also help the schools to embark on micro agric industries within their premises, skillful youths will certainly shore case and schools will generate money to venture in other economic activities and to help those students whose parents find it difficult to meet the cost of their school fees. It will also help to eradicate beggars, dependents, thieves and liabilities in the society.

The Ministry of Education, Curriculum Research and Development Division, Ghana Education Service and the Ghana government should re-introduce Agricultural Science subject and make it as core subjects in Junior High Schools and reinforce practical aspects of it more vigorously as a skill subject for all without drawing a dichotomy in the study of the subject.

I will want to go over the current Integrated Science Syllabus for Junior High School. I am doing this because I know the first reaction of many will be that the Agriculture Science has been infused into the current Integrated Science. An analogy which is not supported with facts on the ground. Here are the topics in the current Syllabus:






Unit 1: Introduction to Integrated Science

Unit 1: Elements, Compounds and Mixtures

Unit 1: Acids, Bases and Salts

Unit 2: Matter

Unit 2: Metals and Non


Unit 2: Soil and Water Conservation

Unit 3: Measurement

Unit 3: Chemical


Unit 4: Nature of Soil

Unit 4: Mixtures

Unit 5: Hazard

Unit 5: Water


Unit 1: Life Cycle of

Flowering Plants

Unit 1: Carbon Cycle

Unit 1: Life Cycle of Mosquito

Unit 2 : Vegetable Crop


Unit 2: Climate


Unit 1 : Respiratory

System of Humans

Unit 1: Reproduction

and Growth in Humans

Unit 1: Solar System

Unit 2: Farming Systems

Unit 2: Heredity

Unit 2: Dentition in


Unit 3: Diffusion and


Unit 4: Circulatory System in Humans


Unit 1: Sources and

Forms of Energy

Unit 1: Photosynthesis

Unit 1: Heat Energy

Unit 2 : Conversion of


Unit 2: Food and Nutrition

Unit 2: Basic Electronics

Unit 3: Basic Electronics

Unit 3: Electrical Energy

Unit 4: Light Energy

Unit 4: Basic Electronics


Unit 1 : Ecosystems

Unit 1: Physical and

Chemical Changes

Unit 1: Magnetism

Unit 2: Infections and


Unit 2: Science Related


Unit 3: Pests and Parasites

Unit 4: Force and Pressure

Unit 5: Machines


Recent review of the syllabus in September 2012 saw the scraping of the following topics from the Integrated Science Syllabus.

Unit 3: Fish Culture
Unit 3: Digestion in Animals
Unit 2: Animal Production
Unit 2: Technology and Development
Unit 3: Machinery
Unit 4: Entrepreneurship
So as it stands, from the table above, the Agriculture component of the current Integrated Science Syllabus are:

Unit 4: Nature of Soil
Unit 3: Pests and Parasites
Unit 1: Life Cycle of Flowering Plants
Unit 2: Vegetable Crop Production
The effect is that, students in Junior High School barely have negligible knowledge in Agriculture.

This situation will not motivate a student to choose Agriculture Science as a programme to study at the Senior High School. I want us to take a look at the Junior Secondary School Agriculture Science which was scrapped off in 2008. It was grouped into five sections.



1. Development of Agriculture through the ages

2. Land and its uses

3. The effects of climate on agriculture

4. Origin and types of rocks

1. Soil composition and properties

2. Plant nutrient

3. Maintenance of soil fertility

4. Soil and water conservation



1. Generalized life history of flowering plants

2. Vegetative propagation in plants

3. Agricultural systems

4. Field machinery

5. Sources of farm power

6. Principles and practices of crop cultivation

7. Crop improvements

8. General accounts of plant diseases

9. Pest of plants and stored products

1. Ecological distribution of livestock in West Africa

2. Animal nutrition

3. Reproduction in Farm Animals

4. Reproduction in Poultry

5. Fish Culture

6. System of Poultry Management

7. Animal Improvement

8. Pest, Parasites and diseases of livestock


A critical look at the topics shows by the end of the above lessons for three years, the student will be in a good position as to what to study at the Senior High School.

Apart from just the knowledge, such students is likely to involve himself or herself in Animal rearing, fish farming and crop production, especially for those students who are unable to further their education at the Senior High School due to poverty and lack of access.

The 2008 Educational Reforms sought to improve Science and Technology, and therefore, introduced subjects such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) at the expense of Agriculture Science.

The big question is, Agriculture in its own is technology. So why was it scrapped? And can we eat computers? The answer is a big no. Developing technology does not mean we should collapse the foundation of Agriculture in the country which was the “Backbone of our Economy”.

The fact still remains that, without quality human resource to develop Agriculture sector, the future of our country is doomed, and you cannot get such human resource when our children and siblings are, right from the start, made to believe that Agriculture Science is not so significant in the country.

After discovery of oil in commercial quantities in this country, it was proposed that effort should be made to encourage livelihood empowerment programme and that Agriculture should be developed especially for coastal communities whose livelihood like fishing is going to be impeded due to oil exploration.

Following establishment of fisheries campus by the University of Cape Coast in the Central Region, effort must be made to develop all aspect of Agriculture especially at the Junior High School. This can be achieved if Agriculture Science is re-introduced at Junior High School.

We must work hard to resurrect collapsing Agriculture. And Education is the key to development of such Agriculture. We must therefore, as a country, go back to re-introduce the Agriculture Science as a subject once again in the Junior High School.

Let's make the best use of our environment for the progress and development of our beloved nation by educating the minds of the young ones on issues affecting us socially, economically and so on.

Francis Mike Eshun ( [email protected]/ 0203961833)

Bsc. Agriculture Science, U.C.C-2009, Dip in Ed, U.E.W-Kumasi-2014.

Enoch Cobbinah ( [email protected]/[email protected]/ 0540603892)

Bsc. Agriculture Science Education, UEW-Mampong-Ashanti-2015.

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