Graphic Business News

Agric sector records marginal growth

By: Kester Korankye

The agricultural sector recorded a marginal growth of 2.6 per cent in the first half of 2019, compared with 4.7 per cent for the same period in 2018.

Growth in the sector in the year under review was 2.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent in the first and second quarters respectively, compared with 4.7 per cent and 4.8 per cent in the corresponding quarters in 2018.

According to the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the livestock subsector had the best growth performance of 5.5 per cent in the first quarter, followed by the crops subsector with 2.4 per cent.

It said the trend continued in the second quarter with the livestock subsector growing at 5.7 per cent and crops at 4.0 per cent.

However, the forestry and logging and fishing subsectors contracted in both periods.

Agric plan
The key initiatives under the National Agricultural Investment Plan – Investing for Food and jobs (IFJ, 2018-2021) are the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ); Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ); Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD); Greenhouse Villages and Agricultural Mechanisation.

Other complementary interventions include irrigation and water management, agricultural marketing and post-harvest management.

Two greenhouse villages with commercial production units and training centres were completed at Dawhenya and Akumadan in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions respectively. The construction of a third facility at Bawjiase in the Central Region is 70 per cent complete.

The facilities are to increase production of high-value vegetables for local and international markets and help train youth in greenhouse technology. So far, a total of 238 agricultural graduates comprising 168 males and 70 females have received training on greenhouse technology in the facilities.

The first batch of 51 graduate youth trained in Israel returned to Ghana in September, 2019 and a second batch of 71 youth are currently in Israel receiving similar training. The training will equip the youth to start their own greenhouse businesses.

Under the mechanisation for food and jobs module, the government imported a total of 230 tractors with implements, 1000 power tillers, 70 planters, 70 boom and orchard sprayers, 30 cereal combine harvesters and 400 shellers for sale at 40 per cent subsidised prices to farmers and service providers across the country.

The rest are 100 threshers, 300 irrigation kits, 20 seed cleaners, 20 silo dryers and 100 greenhouses. This aim is to enhance farmers’ timely access to mechanised services to enhance productivity.

2020 Initiatives
In 2020, the government will provide additional agricultural machinery and equipment including simple hand-held farm equipment to improve small-scale farmers’ access to agricultural mechanisation services.

The government will also complete the importation of assorted agricultural machinery for the establishment of Agriculture Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSECs).

In addition, the ministry initiated the development of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP) to implement the Agriculture and Food Security component of the National Climate Change policy.

The Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) also trained 1,300 smallholder farmers in various Climate Smart Agricultural Technologies to equip them with information and skills to address emerging climate change issues.

In 2020, the ministry will train 2,000 farmers on emerging climate change issues, monitor environmental compliance of agricultural investments, increase sensitisation of policy makers on Climate Change and sensitise farmers on natural resource based alternative livelihoods.