Ghana has for the past five successive years failed to meet its six per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) target in the agriculture sector, an Agro Policy Performance Barometer (APPB) report for 2014/15 has revealed.
The outcome of the report was launched in Accra yesterday by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) on the theme: “ The Promise of Success: Adequate Coordination and Investment in Small Scale Agriculture.”
Citing 2015 as the year the agriculture sector had the worse GDP performance of 0.04 per cent, the report concluded that productivity of small scale crops was tied to agriculture.
It further highlighted the fact that effective coordination of all factors of production, as well as empowerment of the right institutions, would result in increased production in the crop sub-sector and the agriculture sector as a whole.
The Coordinator of GTLC, Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, observed that it was important for deliberate policy interventions to be implemented to grow the crop sub-sector in order to boost the chances of attaining the overall GDP target in the agriculture sector.
“If you observe the figures, you will realise in 2013 when the agriculture sector recorded the highest GDP growth of 5.7 per cent, the crop sub-sector also had an impressive 5.7 per cent growth. We must pay more attention to that sector if we are to see any positive growth in the agriculture sector,” he added.
Mr Akalbila said the way forward was for more investment to be made in the crop sub-sector so as to empower small holder farmers to boost their production.
He called on the government to introduce and scale up cost-effective intervention programmes such as fertiliser subsidy, certified seeds, and extension services.
“Some major issues we found in ourengagement with small-scale farmers had to do with access to credit facilities, ready market for food crops, and access to land. Most of the farmers, especially the females, had very little access to these facilities. The government ought to respond to these needs in order to boost productivity,” he said.
Removal of barriers
Mr Akalbila further stated that because of the high rate of illiteracy among small-scale farmers, innovative measures ought to be put in place to transmit information on best farming practices to the farmers.
He called for the removal of all barriers to the timely access to subsidised fertiliser and credit facilities to farmers and added that the delay in the release of such facilities had negative impact on crop yield.