Parliamentarians urged to live above partisan politics

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Doe Adjaho, has urged Members of Parliament to live above partisan politics and to boldly criticize documents that the Executive brings for their approval.

He explained that parliamentarians had often allowed their party political affiliations to influence their work as legislators thereby passing documents or policies that were brought to them without making the necessary criticisms.

“As MPs we owe it a duty to the people of Ghana to pass policies that will at the end of the day make a positive impact on society. Therefore, we should always have this at the back of our minds,” he said.

Mr Adjaho was opening a two-day workshop on Thursday on “Agriculture and Climate Change – Role and Perspective of the Parliament in Ghana.”

The workshop was organized by the Parliament of Ghana, Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with support from Swedish International Development Cooperation.

It focused on measures and tools legislators could use to fulfil their constitutional mandate as law makers, overseers of the public purse and representatives of their communities.

Participants also discussed relevant legislation, policies and best practices and would make recommendations for parliamentary action to move agriculture in Ghana forward.

Mr Adjaho urged MPs not to accept just anything that came to them because their party was in power but to go behind the scene and advice themselves to do the right thing in the interest of the people and Ghana as a whole.

“I have been fortunate to be in the minority and majority and there have been many times that I have gone behind the scenes to advise my people when policies are brought before us and I find faults with them. Though you will be looked at with an eagle eye, I think it is the best way.”

Mr Adjaho said it was unfortunate Ghana still depended on rain-fed agriculture when she could have enhanced her irrigation systems, built more dams and used modern technology.

He called on the chairpersons of the various Committees in Parliament to ensure that there was an increase in the budget allocated to the agriculture sector in next year’s budget to build small dams for irrigation throughout the country and move agriculture forward.

Dr Augustine Lanyintuo, Policy Officer of AGRA in Nairobi, Kenya, expressed concern about the low yields of cereal production in Ghana and listed some of the constraints as lack of political will, drought, limited irrigation, lack of market access and lack of storage facilities.

He said agriculture contributed about 37 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic product and was a key sector in the quest to reduce food insecurity. “Yet low productivity continues to hamper its contribution due to these constraints.”

Mr Lanyintuo noted that Ghana and for that matter Africa would not see a change in productivity if things were not turned around for the better. “We have the resources and the capacity to turn things around and the role of the Parliamentarians is very crucial here.”

He called on government to support farmers with subsidies and make available all the necessary agricultural inputs to enhance their work and ensure food security.

Dr Joan Kagwanja, Policy Officer in AGRA, Ghana, said without the inputs of Parliament, the policy advocacy pathway would be incomplete and the policies would be nothing but draft bills.

She said Ghana had surpassed the 10 per cent allocation of its budget to agriculture as per the Maputo Declaration.

She said Ghana had firm agricultural strategies, which sought to see her achieve food security, increase income through the application of science and technology to food and agriculture, as well as improve land and environmental management.

Dr Kagwanja expressed AGRA’s continuous support to build systems and processes that would make home-grown evidence-based policies for agriculture.

AGRA, since its establishment in 2007, has supported Ghana with about 15.5 million dollars in grants in the areas of seeds, soil health and markets.

Source: GNA

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