Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)
Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2015 shows a truck loaded with sacks of agricultural produce along the muddy Sironko-Mbale road at Bugusege trading centre, eastern Uganda. As a country where over 80% of the population relies on agriculture, the Uganda government is prioritizing growth of infrastructure to economically viable areas to ease access to the markets. (Xinhua/Daniel Edyegu)

Dr. Kojo Tutu, lecturer at the Department of Agriculture, University of Ghana said here during the 2016 post budget analysis organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ).

Agriculture tractor plowing fieldHe described the cut in expenditure to the sector as implying that agriculture was no more a priority of the government.
“The cut in nominal cedi value means little can be done by way of acquisition of machinery for the sector,” Dr. Tutu remarked.

The Agriculture Economist warned the fall in allocation to the sector as compared to the previous years was quite problematic for the country.

He said, “Agriculture has fallen to 19 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that is dangerous because there is no way we are going to develop with this type of structure.”

Dr. Tutu suggested a long term plan for the country as that will clearly indicate the kind of strategy the country needs to put in place to achieve what it seeks to gain within the next 2 decades.

Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and Energy Expert, Dr. John Gatsi expressed similar views on the dwindling fortunes of the agriculture sector in the country.

He emphasized the sector has been going down for the past 2 to 3 years and urged the government to put in place interventions that will “bring back the hype in the agriculture sector.”

Professor Thomas Akapza, Chief Director of the Petroleum Ministry disagreed with the views expressed by the two academicians on the sector.

He said the 2016 budget was an austere one and that there were cuts in allocations to all sectors and notwithstanding that the agricultural sector had more than other sectors.

According to him, 45 percent of the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) amounting to 300 million Ghana cedis was allocated to agriculture modernization.

Group Sector Head of Budget at the Finance Ministry, David Collison said agriculture was a priority of the government and that there was a long term national development plan they were following to implement.

Finance Minister, Seth E. Terkper presented the budget statement and economic policy of the government for 2016 to the country’s legislative body on November 13, 2015.

The government for the 2016 fiscal year has allocated a total amount of 501,501,708 Ghana cedis to the agriculture sector for the implementation of various programmes.

Out of the total allocation; 322,094,227 Ghana cedis is from the Government of Ghana (GOG), 4,056,650 Ghana cedis is from Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) while 175, 341,831 is from development partners (DPs).

The government also allocated an amount of 52,706,712 Ghana cedis to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to undertake its programmes.

Out of the figure; 28,857,495 Ghana cedis is from the GOG, 11,875,210 is from IGFs and 11,974,008 is coming from DPs.
Out of a projected amount of 1,009,011,055 Ghana cedis for the ABFA from oil revenue for spending next year; government intends to spend 284,450,130 Ghana cedis on agriculture modernization.

The breakdown of spending is as follows; irrigation and other related capital (63,702,772 Ghana cedis), green house project (35,000,000 Ghana cedis), fertilizer and seed subsidy (163,615,132 Ghana cedis) and fisheries & aquaculture infrastructure (22,132,226 Ghana cedis).

This, Collison observed shows the extent the Ghana government was committed to developing the sector to continue to play its leading role in the economy. Enditem.

Source: Francis Tandoh/NewsGhana.com.gh

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