Govt asked to increase funding for agric sector

Participants after the ceremonyThe government has been urged to improve resource allocation to the agricultural sector to enhance food production.

Mr. Festus Kwadjokpo, the capacity building co-ordinator for the Agriculture Policy Support programme of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said that would enable rural farmers increase productivity.

He said this at a validation workshop to signify the end of the Mobilising Action Towards Agric Sector Improvement (MAASI) project, yesterday at Somanya in the Eastern Region.

The one-year MAASI project themed: “Improving Agriculture, Improving livelihood”, sought to improve resource allocation to the agricultural sector by the end of the year in Asuogyaman, Lower Manya Krobo, Upper Manya Krobo, Yilo Krobo, Shai Osudoku and the Akuapem North districts, among others.

Its main objective is to build the capacity of staff of departments of agriculture, the reconstruction of agriculture, the reconstruction of agriculture sub-committees, to lobby and advocate for agriculture issues, train farmers on use of modern technologies, and to also assist farmers solicit funds as well as use advocacy to promote agriculture.

The programme was funded by the USAID and implemented by Rite FM a subsidiary of Multi Media Group.

According to Mr. Kwadjokpo, agriculture, which was the main stay of the country’s economy was dwindling hence the need for government and stakeholders to get on board and inject more funds to enable farmers to increase food production to ensure food security.

He said in order for agriculture, which employs about 45 per cent of the population to meet its target, there was the need to empower the rural farmer with the needed logistics to make the profession more attractive especially to the youth.

Mr. Kwadjokpo said the USAID under its Feed the Future Nation project would continue to support the media, civil society organisations and farmer based organisations towards increasing advocacy to enable them be part of the agriculture value chain processes”, he said.

The Project Co-ordinator of MAASI, Emmanuel Asamoah, said a boast in agriculture would provide jobs for the people, stem rural urban migration, reduce poverty as well as enhance the nutritional needs of the citizens.

He said the sector when effectively resourced would spur growth in the services sector, industry and manufacturing all geared towards increased export to boost foreign exchange earnings.

Mr. Asamoah urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to increase funds to the sector using internally generated funds, adhere to the Malabo declaration on accelerated agricultural growth transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihood by committing at least 10 per cent of public expenditure to agriculture.

He said micro finance and small loans centre should have a special portfolio targeted at farmers across the country.

By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu

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