The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and SEND GHANA have called on the government to scale up agriculture spending and prioritise the sector to save livelihoods, as it prepares for its mid-year budget review and supplementary estimates for 2020.
Speaking on agriculture sector led-economy recovery at a public forum, Professor Godfred Bokpin, an Economist, said, the food index in Ghana has surged since the country reported its first case of Coronavirus disease and the fear of COVID-19 is collapsing economies.
According to him, more than 70 per cent of local food consumption is produced and supplied by smallholder farmers, adding that the majority of Ghanaians derive their livelihoods from agriculture.
Professor Bokpin argues that scaling up agriculture spending in the mid-year budget, not as a favour but as a necessity will help sustain the economy of Ghana and protect livelihoods.
He urged the government to improve and scale-up efficiency in existing agriculture sector interventions such as subsidy on fertilizers among others.
The forum, organised by Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) in collaboration with SEND GHANA and with support from the International Budget Partnership, was held under the theme: Anchoring Ghana’s Post-COVID Recovery on Agriculture: Investing in Smallholder Farmers for Food Security and Growth”.
On her part, a Deputy Director, Policy Planning and Budget Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Madam Josephine Quagraine, mentioned that, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is in the process of developing a Post Covid-19 strategy to be aligned with government’s COVID-19 response programme.
The strategy, which is still at the consultative stage, will assess the effects of the pandemic on the agricultural sector, she added.
Margaret Annor, a smallholder farmer at Ashaiman in adding her voice acknowledged government’s investment in the agric sector and requested that “more attention should be paid to the sector in order to make it more attractive to investors and the youth.”
The forum served as a platform to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the economy as a whole and justify the prioritisation of agriculture as the engine to propel Ghana out of economic quagmire due to the COVID.