Akufo-Addo Gov’t has performed ‘woefully’ in the Agric sector – Sammy Gyamfi
National Communications Officer for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, says contrary to the government’s boastful claims of success in the Agriculture sector, it has performed woefully.
He pulled the stitches out of the government’s claims of success under the flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme and growth of Ghana’s Agriculture sector, describing it as nothing but a ‘scam’.
Gyamfi, in a Facebook post on Wednesday expressed his misgivings about the ‘self-acclaimed’ success of the programme.
He noted that some key questions would disprove and reveal the truth of a failed programme.
“Why the decline in growth rate for the Agric sector from 6.1 per cent in the year 2017 to 4.8 per cent in 2018, and further down to 2.6 per cent for the first half of 2019 (compared to 4.7 per cent growth recorded for the first half of 2018)?
Why did the Akufo-Addo government as recently as January 2, 2019, borrow 2,750 tonnes of cereals (maize, rice, millet, and sorghum) from ECOWAS to support the School Feeding Programme? Why is Ghana, for the first time in history, borrowing food from ECOWAS in the midst of so-called plenty? And why has the Akufo-Addo government failed to replace the borrowed cereals to date?
Why the steep increases in the prices of food products on the market? Why are farmers all over the country complaining about the smuggling of PF&J fertilizers? Why the persistent decline in annual cocoa production from 969,000mt in 2016/2017 to 904,000mt in 2017/2018 and further down to 811,250mt for the 2018/2019 cocoa season? Why the decline in growth rate for the fisheries sub-sector from 3.1 per cent in 2016 to -1.4 per cent in 2017, with a further nosedive to -6.8 per cent in 2018 and still in the negatives for 2019? ”
According to him, the above questions completely contradicts the government’s claim about the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme as has been echoed by the current administration.
Sammy Gyamfi insists the Agric sector is on a decline and much-vaunted programme is not achieving its expected outcomes.
He further noted “The so-called bumper harvest in Yam, plantain and other local food produce is a normal seasonal phenomenon that occurs almost every year around this harvesting period and has nothing to do with the much-touted Planting for food and jobs program.
Meanwhile, President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in 2017, launched the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme at Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo Region.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the programme is the basis of the answer to the twin-problem of the migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs, as well as an end to the disgraceful spectacle of Ghana importing foodstuffs from neighbouring countries.
Planting for Food and Jobs, the President explained, will be anchored on the pillars that will transform Ghanaian agriculture: the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilizers, the provision of dedicated extension services, a marketing strategy and the use of e-Agriculture.
The Planting for Food and Jobs programme is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent; rice by 49 per cent; soybean by 25 per cent; and sorghum by 28 per cent from current production levels.
This programme was expetesd to create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment.
It is also expected to improve the marketability of the increased production of food crops by establishing strong linkages between the producers, private aggregators, public food programs, and private food- and feed enterprises.
Information gathered by TheGhanaReport.com reveals that so far some 900,000 people are in gainful employment as a result of its flagship agricultural development programme.
This number, according to the Agric Minister, Owusu Afriyie-Akoto is a 155,000 increase from 2017.