Agriculture in Africa

Lack of clear policy direction for agriculture programs is the cause of failure of these programs in Ghana, Edward Kareweh, General Secretary for the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) of Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has told Xinhua.

In an interview on Wednesday, Kareweh emphasized the need for clear policy direction in order to make the agriculture sector the anchor of Ghana’s economy.

“In development you must begin with your strength areas, and we already have agriculture. All other things must depend on agriculture. You must also give leverage to your people to be self-reliant and produce the things that hither to you were importing,” Kareweh emphasized.

He averred that whether it is in making decisions on economic planning or getting ideas from elsewhere for economic development, there is the need to structure other areas of the economy such that they would have a direct linkage with agriculture, because it is agriculture that is going to provide the raw materials to those areas, particularly manufacturing.

Kareweh lamented the situation where services which must serve the productive sector is rather servicing importation as banks and other financial institutions are just growing on the back of servicing import.

“We need to change that trend so that they will now begin to service production. And when you also produce, which is primary product, it must be processed and that will be manufacturing. So the link must be clear. We must tell ourselves where we want to get to in the next 10 years or 20 years and that must be the basis of our development agenda using agriculture as the bedrock to move ahead,” he urged.

On many agriculture programs run in the country, the expert said they failed because policy makers may have been confusing programs with policy.

“We are confusing a number of things. We have a program and we have a policy. There can be many programs within a policy so when you confuse program with a policy then you get it wrong

“ The ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ we don’t know the scope of it. It is an implementation program. It is not all that much different from what we have done in the past,” he pointed out about the current trumpeted government agriculture program.

Such programs, he described as an attempt to re-invent the wheel which has been the cause of Ghana’s under-development because they tend to be knee-jerk response to development quest.

For it to work, he believed all similar previous programs should be assessed and the causes of failure identified so these mistakes would be avoided in the current implementation.

On the way forward, the trade unionist said it was time to pool all past policies within the sector and “and within those broad policies we can now have ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’. With this we know that it is one of the programs to realize within those policies that already exist.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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