Crop farmers worried about slow growth rates in sector

The Peasant Farmers Association has noted with worry, the low growth rate and growth target in the crops sub-sector while forestry and logging are rather flourishing.

The group has said that the growth target of 2.9 per cent for agriculture in 2015 is far below the sector’s planned annual minimum growth rate of 6 per cent for the implementation period of 2011-2015.

AgricAgriculture recorded 5.3 per cent in Real Gross Domestic Product in 2014, which is an increase by 0.1 per cent, from 5.2 per cent in 2013.

The crops sub-sector recorded a 3.6 per cent growth rate for 2014, out of a target of 5.8 per cent while on the other hand, logging and forestry experienced a 16.5 per cent growth rate from a target of 0.5 per cent.

The group believes that the surge in forestry and logging to the detriment of food crop production may be due to improper policy intervention and targeting and could be alleviated by government intervention.

Their concerns are contained in a communiqué which was issued by the Peasant Farmers Association, Social Enterprise Development Foundation (SEND Ghana), traditional leaders and civil society organizations at the end of two budget analysis workshops supported by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and Oxfam GB.

The Association has noted that the 2015 budget was silent on government’s plan in the 2014 budget to extend the coverage of Agricultural Mechanization Services Enterprise Centres (AMSECs) to 148 MMDAs.

According to the group, there was also no distribution of subsidized fertilizer and seed to crop farmers though a provision of fertilizer for 180,000 m2 was captured in the 2014 budget.

They have also described the current irrigation level of one per cent as “not encouraging”, given the challenges of existing irrigation projects and the probability that it could be an over-estimate.

The group is therefore calling on government to step up efforts in attaining the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) growth rate and to facilitate mechanization, irrigation and access to the fertilizer and seed subsidy programme for small scale farmers.

Source: GNA

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