The Member of Parliament for the Yilo Krobo constituency, Hon Lawyer Magnus Kofi Amoatey has described Ghana’s agricultural sector as being in a ‘reverse gear’ contrary to expectations that the sector should be serving as Ghana’s food basket.
According to the lawmaker, the agriculture sector continues to retrogress after the able leadership of the first president of the land, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Efforts by past governments to modernize agriculture and increase food and cash crops production were guided by various agricultural policies, some of which were successful while others were not most probably because the policies were not well thought through or the governments did not live long to complete the implementation of the policies.
Speaking on Rite FM’s Agric Forum with Austin Ofori Addo on Saturday, he said that the first president put comprehensive measures in place to ensure the sustenance and progress of the agric sector. This was in anticipation that the sector provide enough jobs and strengthen the economy.
Lawyer Amoatey who expressed gross disillusionment with what he described as the lack of progress of Ghana’s agric sector after 61 years of independence said the development is as a result of successive government’s not showing enough commitment to the progress of the sector.
“The country did not put conscious efforts in place to sustain all the good agricultural policies from the first president of the land and hence importing everything with huge sums of money from other countries. That sum of money could have been used for other developmental projects,” he lamented.
The two term parliamentary representative of the Yilo Krobo constituency also eulogized the first president whom he credited with the establishment of several State Farms across the country.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s agriculture policy started with the establishment of Co-operative and State Farms that were supposed to be run on commercial basis, and by 1962, 26 state farms were established. Each constituency of the country had an officer responsible for the establishment of state farms.
According to Lawyer Amoatey, the establishment of the State Farms was to produce enough raw materials to feed local industries.
“Dr Kwame Nkrumah established State farms all over the country with the aim of ensuring that the youth were employed and also develop interest in agriculture as well as getting enough raw materials to feed the local industries,” he said.
“Dr. Kwame Nkrumah also established industries such as the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, a meat processing factory at Bolgatanga, a cocoa processing factory, etc. and the vision is to absorb the raw materials to prevent post-harvest losses among the farmers in the country and prevent the exportation of raw materials to other countries,” he added.
Crops targeted for these farms included rubber, oil palm, cotton, coconuts and fiber plant. Special attention was given to cocoa by improving its production methods. For instance, a number of fermentaries designed to improve quality of cocoa were to be established and run by the farmers on co-operative lines and attention was equally given to livestock, especially the control of diseases and the provision of feeds to increase local meat supply to reduce imports.
Lawyer Amoatey further criticized successive governments after Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for discontinuing good policies begun by the first president which has resulted in total disinterest of the youth in agriculture.
Source: Austin Ofori Addo/ritefmonline.org