The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to increase its budget allocation to the agricultural sector for the 2022 fiscal year.
Though commendable, the association says government needs to make more investments in the sector as the 1.86 per cent allocated to the sector was far below the 10 per cent expected by the association.
Ahead of the budget presentation on Wednesday, the PFAG released a statement indicating their expectation of not less than 10 per cent budget allocation to the agricultural sector in the 2022 budget and economic policy to anchor the post COVID-19 recovery around the sector and accelerate government’s agenda of developing Ghana beyond aid.
Addressing the media in Accra on Friday after the budget presentation, the Head of Programme and Advocacy of PFAG, Dr Charles Nyaaba,lauded government for considering their inputs and making the allocation to the sector but indicated that it was far below what was needed for activities in the sector.
He noted that the agriculture value chain, and its attendant challenges with regards to the impact ofclimate change on the sector had significant implications for Ghana’s post COVID-19 recovery strategy and food security.
As a result, he said, there was the need for attention to be paid to the sector in order to capacitate it.
Dr Nyaaba stated that government’s support to the sector particularly in capital investments and goods and services would protect not only smallholder farmers but food security and Ghanaians at large.
Concerning capital investments, Dr Nyaaba stressed that “government had toresuscitate warehousing, irrigation development, feeder roads, agro industries, mechanisation, research and development.”
“Government should also address credibility gap, andrestore the subsidy amount at least to half of market price for smallholderfarmers,” he added.
On government’s directive of abolishing tolls on public roads, the Head of Programme and Advocacy of the Association again commended government stating that, “onecause of perishable commodities was the delay of trucks on the highway and the toll booths were one.”
He however charged government to provide alternative source of livelihoods to toll collectors and hawkers who used to work around such areas.
Dr Nyaaba further asked for a reduction in prices of petroleum products to make farmers comfortable.
He urged government to increase the amount on which one would be charged an applicable 1.75 per cent on all electronic transactions.
“We beseech government to raise the bar to at least GH₵1,000, if not it will discourage farmers from using electronic charges,” he stated.
Mr Abdul Rhaman Mohammed, President of PFAG, commended government for incorporating the sector’s input into the budget and urged government to increase and release funds allocated to the sector on time to facilitate activities of the sector.
The Executive Director of PFAG, Victoria Adongo, called on government to look at areas that were not captured in the budget regarding the sector and make amends.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR & CECILIA LAGBA