The purpose of this write up is to analyze the Agricultural sector growth in the simplest terms to the understanding of the average voter and the local Ghanaian farmer to make choices in the party s/he would vote for decisively. This means I am not going to dwell much on abstracts and economic figures which can make the reading boring and difficult to appreciate.
The agricultural sector is the most critical sector of Ghana’s economy. Most of the other sectors hinge around the success of the agriculture sector. Industry and services are all dependent on Agriculture. Agriculture contributes up to 40% of the Gross Domestic Product of Ghana’s economy. That should tell us how critical it is. The last figures I am about to quote is essential for the analysis just that I will go beyond the figure to make meaning of how that has translated into the lives of the people.
The growth rate measures how the economy has performed in each year as reported by the Ghana Statistical Service. To appreciate which Government performed better, it is important we take a look at figures first. They are not nominal figures but real, which means they are calculated with a common base figure.
In 2014, after the first year of John Dramani Mahama, the Agric sector grew at a rate of 0.9%, in 2015 the growth rate was 2.3%, in 2016 it was 2.9% and the growth rate for the year 2017 was 6.1%, and then in 2018 rate was 4.8%. These figures are reported by the Ghana Statistical Service as contained in their Rebased 2013-2018 Annual Gross Domestic Product report.
It is clear from the figures that the sector performed poorly under John Mahama in the year 2015, in fact, that is the lowest in about six years now. In 2011, Ghana recorded the highest cocoa production ever to the introduction of the cocoa mass spraying by former president Kufuor before he left office. How the cocoa sector works is that, when you share a boundary with another farmer who does not control his farm well, and allows pests and diseases to thrive in the farm, they move into your farm too even if you are practising farm hygiene and control the pests. That was the vision behind the cocoa mass spraying program Kufuor started. The NDC government did not believe in it, and the sector started declining.
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But we can run down some impacts he made in the Agricultural sector. In 2016 the National Democratic Congress started distribution of free fertilizer to the cocoa farmers in the country. The delivery was to augment the farmers’ access to inputs to increase cocoa production. But the challenge of that program was lack of equity. The people in charge were accused of distributing the fertilizer on party lines, and this did not really translate into the aggregate output.
Little or nothing can be said about their intervention in the area of livestock and field crops. The very reason why Ghana was importing basic crops like plantain from Ivory Coast.
The New Patriotic Party’s implementation of the Planting for foods and jobs is the biggest thing that happened to the agricultural sector in a very long while now. This policy gives people who are ready to venture into farming all inputs they would need, except land, as well as Agricultural Extension Agent’s advice. This program has coerced youth into farming of crops. The country has started the exportation of foods of all in kinds including vegetables and fruits for foreign exchange.
The government launched rearing for meat and export last year. That has also given the livestock sector a boost. What is so good about this is that it has created more jobs for people. The agricultural sector is the largest employing sector of the country.
The One–Village–One-Dam and the One-District-One Factory despite its slow pace of progress, are bright programs for agricultural development in Ghana. One main reason why Ghana is not making enough money from farming and agriculture is the selling and exportation of raw products. The One-Villag –One-Dam will ensure all-year-round production of food, especially in the savanna ecological zone where the dry season prevails for long. And the factories that are being built in the districts will absorb the food in years there would be a bumper harvest.
Both the NDC and the NPP have contributed to the growth of the Agricultural sector of Ghana but the ruling NPP government has performed far better than the NDC in the sector.
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