A proposal has been made to government to take systematic steps aimed at developing a formula to facilitate strategic, systematic and consistent allocation of 10 percent of public resources to the agricultural sector to improve productivity in the sector.
The proposal is necessitated by the consensus that Ghana’s agriculture sector over the years has not received the requisite funding the sector needs to increase productivity and yields, notably among small holder farmers, thus accounting for Ghana’s inability to meet the Malabo Declaration in Equatorial Guinea.
Ghana was one of the first countries to sign onto the Malabo Declaration protocol in June 2014. The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) committed member countries to allocate 10 percent of their respective national budgetary resources to the agriculture sector and achieve 6 percent annual growth rate.
According to Social Enterprise Fund (SEND) Ghana, a civil society group, an agriculture investment fund similar to the Ghana Education Trust (GET) Fund in the educational sector must be set up to provide continuous financing of the agriculture sector.
In a recent survey conducted by SEND Ghana, it observed that Ghana could not meet the 10 percent expenditure allocation and the 6 percent growth for the period 2014 to 2017 under review and further assessed the functional breakdown of government expenditures with regards to both budgetary allocations and actual disbursements in the agriculture sector.
For instance, expenditure allocations and actual growth in 2017 were 5.1 percent and 8 percent respectively whiles between 2014 to 2016 the figures were significantly lower. According to the Group, the average allocation and actual expenditure for the period stated was about 3 percent of allocation whilst actual disbursement was 2.5 percent which reflected in the low average growth rate of 3 percent.
Speaking to the Goldstreet Business during a national dialogue on budget tracking and analysis in the agriculture sector in Accra, Programme Officer for SEND Ghana, Rachel Gyabaah said it was important to discuss the findings and recommendations of the study thoroughly in order to generate deliberations by parliament and civil society organizations for swift action to be taken.
“Giving the limited fiscal space available in government’s budget, some incentives must be provided to attract private sector investment”, she stressed.
Forty countries have signed the CAADP Compact and two thirds have already formulated a National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) or a National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan (NAFSIP) to stimulate production and bring about food security in their respective countries.
Meanwhile with regards to the Planting for Food for Food and Jobs (PFJ), the survey observed that there is no data to show that the right farmers have received the support under the programme, although the initiative is meant to target small holder farmers.
By Dundas Whigham