Over 300 Regional and District Directors of Agriculture have met in the Ashanti Regional Capital of Kumasi, to discuss the decentralization of the agriculture sector vis-à-vis the National Decentralization programme.
The workshop is aimed at creating a common platform for the directors to discuss and share ideas on how to achieve a common understanding of the roles, responsibilities and reporting relationship in implementing agricultural policies and programmes for a holistic national agriculture development.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Fiifi Kwetey, entreated the directors, to accept the challenges that may arise as a result of the decentralisation.
According to the Minister, even though, only two (crops and livestock) out of the five agricultural sub-sectors are controlled by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with the remaining (forestry, fisheries and cocoa) being managed by others, the ministry is blamed for lapses in any aspect of agriculture. He said this was one of the challenges facing the ministry.
He further indicated that, naturally, human beings resisted change and feared the unknown, thus the diverse excuses such as the absence of capacity and perceived negative repercussions on various programmes and activities being advanced by some people.
The Minister therefore tasked the implementers of the decentralisation programme to work on addressing these fears.
The Minister was, however, optimistic that decentralization, if well understood by all the stakeholders and properly harnessed could lead to rapid agricultural development with its resultant rural development since the economies of more than 80% of the district Assemblies in the country depended on agriculture.
Hon. Kwetey charged the directors to also consider how they could relate with the Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs), MMDAs as well as other heads of departments so as to attract the needed support and resources for agricultural development in their districts and regions.
Hon. Dr. Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister in his welcome address, said with the coming into force of LI 1961, the performance of the Directors of agriculture was so important to the overall scheme of the Local Government Secretariat (LGS) and that much could not be achieved without the directors playing their expected roles effectively.
He therefore appealed to the directors not to see the workshop as a mere training but as a conscious programme designed with the objective of achieving a far- reaching result for the overall objectives of the LGS.
The Chairman for the two day workshop was Prof. Kwamina Ahwoi.