Ghana likely to meet MDG on poverty reduction and hunger before 2015

The high growth rate in agricultural production in the country has caused a radical decline in poverty and hunger from 52 per cent during the early 1990’s to about 20 per cent in 2011.

This makes Ghana, one of the few African countries likely to meet, ahead of schedule, the Millennium Development Goal One (MDG 1) target of reducing poverty and hunger by half by 2015.

Dr Tia Alfred Sugri, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in-charge of Livestock made the observation at the launch of a report on Ghana’s Agricultural Growth in Accra on Thursday.

He commended farmers for being the backbone to the nation’s economy which has resulted in the lowest food price inflation in 16 years and helped to bring inflation down to around nine per cent in 2010.

The report was conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK based research think tank.

Dr Sugri noted that prior to 1985, overall economic growth in the country was subjected to large fluctuations that were driven by wide annual variation in agricultural growth.

“The consequence was a steady decline in per capita income and a steady increase in the percentage of the population under the poverty line,” he said.

Dr Sugri said in 2010, agricultural growth alone was 5.8 per cent while that of the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 7.7 per cent.

“Indeed according to the Economist Magazine, Ghana is projected to become the second fastest growing economy in 2011 with a growth rate of 14 per cent, second only to Qatar with a 20 per cent growth rate.”

He cited the inability to significantly increase agricultural productivity through commercialisation to meet local and export demands as one of the major challenges facing agriculture in the country.

Dr Sugri intimated that only 7.7 million hectares (57 per cent) out of a total of 13.6 million hectares of agricultural land was currently under cultivation in the country.

He said government was putting in place the needed measures to employ scientifically based approaches to food production and post harvest food handling and increase domestic and foreign direct investment in agriculture.

“Government is also working to produce high volumes of staple and high value non-traditional crops to supply domestic, inter-regional and global markets,” he added.

Dr Henri Leturgue, Research Officer of ODI, noted that Ghana’s agricultural sector had experienced steady growth due to a stable economy, market liberalisation and improved infrastructure.

He said the economic growth of the country had also stimulated production of vegetables for the domestic market, especially tomato production.

Source: GNA

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