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)

The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has called on government to increase funding to the agriculture sector.

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)

“For far too long, successive governments have only paid lip-service to the agriculture sector”, the GARDJA said.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by Richmond Frimpong, President; Joseph Opoku Gakpo, Policy Director; and Ernest Kofi Adu, Secretary General of GARDJA.

The statement said the lack of adequate funding to the agriculture sector has contributed to the fall of the sector’s share of the Gross Domestic Product (DDP) which was 21.5 per cent in 2014 to 19 per cent in 2015.

It said this also contributed to the annual growth of the sector’s decline from 4.6 per cent in 2014 to 0.04 in 2015 while the crop production sub sector recorded a negative growth of -1.7 percent in 2015.

The statement said the cocoa sector also produced 22 percent less output between the 2013 and 2014 season and the 2014 and 2015 season.

“These figures on their own do not mean much, but bear in mind that more than 55 percent of Ghana’s working population – majority of whom live in poverty and under-developed communities – are farmers, and that a decline in the fortunes of the sector directly affects their daily bread, the statement said.

The Association said all these declines happened as a result of the lack of adequate funding to the sector.

For example in 2015, the statement said, government has approved a budget of GH¢411.82 million for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and out of that amount, only GH¢262.89 million (a little over half) was released to the Ministry for the implementation of programmes.

“You do not treat a sector you consider priority like that. Money is needed to keep the offices of MOFA across the country with electricity supply all year round.”

“Funds are needed for research aimed at improving agriculture productivity. Funds are also needed to finance the transportation and logistical needs of extension officers so that they could transfer innovations and technologies to the farmers”, the statement said.

Source: GNA

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