‘Invest more in agric to facilitate inclusive growth’

Mr. Kwesi Jonah

Mr. Kwesi Jonah

A senior research fellow at the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Kwesi Jonah, is advocating a massive investment in agriculture by government to promote inclusive growth and end poverty.

According to him, poverty and inequality would continue to persist if the agricultural sector, which employs over 60 per cent of Ghana’s workforce, was not given the much-needed attention to propel growth.

“Majority of the country’s workforce have employment in the agricultural sector. Yet, as compared to other sectors, the agricultural sector has for years recorded the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. The statistics also indicate that the poorest people from this country are farmers. We cannot reduce poverty and inequality if the sector that holds the majority of the people is ignored and lacks the required investment,” he stated.

Speaking at a high level inclusive growth and development agenda forum in Accra yesterday, Mr Jonah said that any investment in the agricultural sector must focus on modernisation to include use of innovative technology, tools and equipment and improved seeds among others.

“Most of our farmers are still using the hoes and cutlasses their fathers passed on to them. Productivity would forever be low if we fail to modernise the sector through the use of modern tools and equipment as well as innovative agricultural technologies,” he stressed.

Citing Nigeria and other African countries which ignored agriculture to focus on other sectors, he said the discovery of oil in the country cannot reduce poverty and inequality as the vast majority of Ghanaians were rather involved in the agricultural sector.

Although the government’s programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, was a good initiative to promote agriculture, he said more was required to make the sector attractive and profitable for the country’s teeming youths who have been tempted to seek greener pastures outside the shores of Ghana.

The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, reiterated government’s commitment to engage all stakeholders in charting the path towards pursuing inclusive growth and addressing inequality and poverty challenges.

In this regard, she stated that government on its part would focus on building human capital that would allow the citizenry to participate in the development agenda through inclusive educational policies and programmes and the creation of a favourable regulatory environment.

A prepared and developed human capital, she said would ensure an improvement in livelihoods through productive employment to enhance inclusion rather than direct income distribution.

Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour, stressed the need for equitable resource allocation through financial accountability, effective taxation and equitable budget which would ensure inclusion in the pursuit of national development.

Mr Charles Dzradosi, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Ghana, in an interview with Ghanaian Times said despite the introduction of laudable initiatives by the government to bridge inequality and promote inclusion, majority of the citizens were yet to benefit due to inadequate access to opportunities and basic services.

He said it was essential that monitoring and evaluations systems and mechanisms were instituted to measure the impact of programmes and policies and ensure they were not being hijacked by some privileged individuals.

Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana, said her outfit was ready to support in the generation and analysis of data on poverty and inequalities from the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and a proposed Multidimensional Child Poverty Analysis to help government in resource allocation, improve equity and support the poor and vulnerable.

By Claude Nyarko Adams

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