Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr Ishmael Ackah, is advocating for an agricultural investment plan that will yield meaningful returns to the economy.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on the 2016 budget allocation to the agricultural sector in Takoradi, he said various allocations to the dominant economic sector has failed to yield the required output due to the absence of a strategic investment plan.
The plan, he said, will also guide the judicious use of resources as well as put to check instances where monies for the sector are pushed into non-agric projects.
“The existence of an agriculture investment plan would ensure that resources would be channeled into strategic segments of the sector which would yield fruitful returns.
“In the 2014 agriculture budget for instance, about 70 per cent of it went into the construction of four sea defense wall projects, instead of food crop production, hence the dwindling fortunes in the sector,” he said.
The event which was organized by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) in collaboration with SEND-Ghana, brought together small-holder farmers from the Eastern, Central and Western Regions who deliberated on the agriculture component of the budget.
Growth in the agriculture sector has declined, recording growth of 7.4 per cent in 2008 followed with 7.2 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
There was a rise 2012 to 2.3 percent, 5 per cent in 2013 and then reverted to its declining trend, recording 4.6 per cent in 2014 and 0.04 per cent in 2015.
Dr Ackah said the government should adopt cost-effective measures such as the use of solar panels for irrigation projects in the sector to increase food crop production.