The Ghanaian government’s projection on the agriculture sector remains at the mercy of severe constraints, including fluctuating weather, the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana, Legon, said on Friday.

Researchers
Researchers

“The agriculture sector constraints could be grouped under three broad areas and one cross-cutting area, namely storage, processing and marketing, consumption, and finance,” ISSER noted during a post-budget analysis.

The institute said although the government’s new policy of “Planting for Food and Jobs” is laudable and appears innovative on paper, in its current form, it lacks a clear implementation plan.

Professor Charles Godfred Ackah, Senior Research Fellow at ISSER, who presented the analysis, argued: “Without a clear plan of implementation, it would be difficult to evaluate the performance of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ in meeting the targets set.”

The program, which seeks to create at least 350,000 jobs at the end of the four-year term, targets to achieve a 30 percent increase in maize production, 49 percent in rice, 25 percent in soyabean, and 28 percent in sorghum production.

On the “One Village, One Dam” policy, ISSER noted that this sounds novel and could benefit the overall objectives of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative.

However, it noted that the only targets set in it were to rehabilitate small-to-medium irrigation dams, pointing out that every budget over the past four years contained the agenda to rehabilitate dams and irrigation schemes but execution remains a major constraint.

“Given the policy agenda of agriculture modernization, it is surprising that the only target under the ‘Science and Technology in Food and Agriculture Development Program’ for 2017 is the continuation of the fertilizer subsidy program (FSP),” ISSER observed, adding: “There are many other aspects of science and technology in agriculture that could be explored.”

The institute urged government to deal with these gaps in the policy and set clear and measurable targets while ensuring strict implementation of the laudable policy proposals. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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