The COVID-19 pandemic and its damaging health impact in addition to the lives it is claiming across the globe has become the preoccupation of governments. In other words, the fight against the pandemic has become the priority of the political leaders the world over.
The situation is such that without prudent planning and the financial muscle, other sectors of the economy could be neglected to the hurt of the governed.
In fact, even in the healthcare sector, certain diseases would be neglected. And there is no doubt that even if that happens, not many would blame their government for such neglect. This is because some of such diseases affect people in specific areas only or negligible numbers across places.
Besides, such diseases have insignificant negative impact on individuals and state economies.
However, COVID-19 and its latest variant can derail even well-planned strategies to fight it, and pay some attention to other sectors of the economy.
This is why the Ghanaian Times wishes to commend the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and, for that matter, the government for the decision by MoFA to increase farm mechanisation centres in the country this year, as part of efforts to boost agricultural productivity.
It is said that the move falls in line with the Agricultural Mechanisation Services, which is the fifth module of the government’s flagship agricultural programme “Planting for Food and Jobs.”
But for the unexpected expenditure on COVID-19, such as free water and electricity supplies, other initiatives in the agricultural sector like “One District One Dam” would have gone ahead unhindered for the country to tell a very good story about the agricultural sector.
Even currently, the story is not a bad one. Therefore, the Ghanaian Times believes the move in the area of agricultural mechanisation would be implemented and sustained for increased food production.
Food is medicine and this is undisputable. Without food certain drugs could not be taken. When the agricultural sector is improved, the people would eat well and undertake their various endeavours to contribute their bit to the growth of the country’s economy.
Agricultural sector improvement will also bring savings on foreign exchange. It is on record that the country spent over $2billion to import rice from 2007 to 2018.
However, our northern regions- Upper East, Upper West, Northern, North East and Savannah – have huge potential for rice production. Therefore, once agricultural production there is mechanised, the country stands to gain from it.
Already, farmers in these regions are calling for combine harvesters to render services and the government has promised to meet their request.
Apart for ensuring food security and promoting exports, agricultural sector remains a source of employment for most of the citizenry, more importantly those who otherwise would not have secured means of livelihood anywhere for their lack of knowledge and skills for jobs outside the sector.
This is why the government’s move to improve agricultural production is highly recommendable.