GAWU urges Government to promote agricultural investment
Accra, The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has urged the Government to promote agriculture investment for sustainable national development.
Mr Edward Kareweh, the General Secretary of GAWU, said investment in agriculture was also vital for addressing the nation’s unemployment situation.
He said the importance of agriculture in Ghana’s economy could not be overemphasised; stating that “for the farmer and his/her household and the commercial farmer agriculture is really important”.
“For the Government, policy makers (service bureaucrats) and the financial institutions, agriculture is not important. They are rhetoric and careless about what happens to agriculture,” Mr Kareweh said this during the ongoing 69th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) in Accra.
“For instance, if government officials and civil servants were to be personally liable for the policies they make and retrieval of inputs given to farmers, they would ensure subsidised fertilizers are not diverted,” he said.
He said Ghana’s vision for the agriculture sector is “a modernised agriculture culminating in structurally transformed economy and evident in food security, employment opportunities and reduced poverty”.
He said since Ghana attained independence in 1957, successive governments have pursued with varying degrees of success, policies, programmes and projects to accelerate the growth of the Ghanaian economy and to raise the living standard of the people.
Speaking on the topic “Attracting Investment into the Agricultural Value Chain: The Role of the Private Sector,” Mr Kareweh said per the behaviour of the banks over the period, there was an unambiguous demonstration that agriculture was very important.
“The banks’ lending rates to agriculture are the same as the export sector, even though agricultural production is long-term while export trade is for a short period,” he noted.
“The banks shy away from the agriculture sector, citing high risk loan recovery.”
He called for a cluster of policies at the production, processing and marketing stages of agriculture products in order to attract investment from the private sector into the agricultural value chain.
He further called for direct investment in agriculture to demonstrate commitment.
He recommended that budgetary allocation to the sector should not be less 10 per cent of gross domestic products (GDP).
He said there should be funding for agriculture research institutions to carry out research, instead of depending on foreign funding.
Mr Kareweh urged government to resource the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its agencies.
He also suggested the setting up of a fund, which individuals could access for agricultural activities.
He urged retired public servants and security officers invest in agriculture to make it attractive to the youth.
Source: Ghana News Agency