The ranking member of the Food, agriculture and Cocoa affairs Committee of Parliament, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has stated that farmers in the country deserve far better under the current national Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
He said the government is just using Farmers’ Day to glorify farmers’ contribution to the growth of the economy but in reality the agriculture sector had greatly deteriorated under the present government.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto stressed that the agriculture sector had slumped from 7.8 percent in 2008 under the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to the current five percent.
“It is laughable for the government to budget just GH¢484.3 million out of the GH¢44 billion 2015 budgetary allocations, representing 1.1% of the total allocation to both the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development for the 2015 fiscal year and yet claim that the 2015 budget will be led by the agriculture sector.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Kwadaso made this known in Parliament when he was contributing to a statement to commemorate this year Farmers’ Day, which was celebrated on Friday, December 5.
According to him, President Mahama told the whole nation during his 2014 ‘State of the Nation Address’ to Parliament that the nation imported $1.5 billion of basic food staples like rice and maize which could easily be grown in the country but failed to admit that within the six years’ annual growth of agricultural growth represents only half the growth in the national economy.
“Mr Speaker when this government took over power in 2009, Ghana was importing 384,000 metric tonnes of rice but this rose to over 577,000 in 2013
while fish and poultry rose from 171,000 and 67,000 metric tonnes to 265,000 to 148,000 metric tonnes respectively in the same corresponding years,” he indicated.
Dr Afriyie Akoto noted that the government in the 2014 budgeted that it would distribute 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertilizers to farmers across the country but not a single bag was distributed after the appropriation bill on the budget had been passed.
“This is a clear example of government’s indifference towards the agriculture sector and some experts are predicting serious shortage of maize other stable grains in the coming dry season as result of government’s blatant refusal to supply the fertilizers to farmers which had been budgeted for,” he noted.