Can the agricultural sector deliver the jobs?

Introduction

One Year into the Akufo Addo-Bawumia administration, the Ghanaian people are quietly watching the unfolding events, how all the flagship programs would begin to bear fruits for the benefit of all citizens ie the Planting for food and jobs, 1D1F and one village one dam. When it comes to managing the finances of the country, the government must be commended for their efforts in consolidating and maintain a fiscal discipline. Inspiring confident in the economy to create the private sector jobs through transparency, policy implementation and intervention. For the years ahead is expected to be better and economically beneficial to the ordinary Ghanaian.

This is the best time for a formidable collaboration between government and private sector to work for the economic growth of our people and boost the international confidence as all the macroeconomic indicators are almost on target. As the economic outlook is very positive and confidence in the economy is restored, Ghanaians hope that this year and the once ahead would deliver the jobs as promised by the government.

Planting for food and jobs as we are told is making a lot of impact across the nation and both young and old people taking advantage to add value to our economy.

Agriculture the Core to our Economic Freedom and Growth

Our country over the decades have generated massive revenue through agriculture for the growth and sustenance of our economy. This is the case because majority of the population of the country are into farming, fishing and other forms of agriculture. Research has shown that about 60% -65% of the total population grow the land or fish the sea.

Unfortunately, the revenue government generates from agriculture has seen a steep decline and this has slowed the economic growth of our people. Several problems regarding government policy, access to funding or aid for farmers & fishermen ie, machinery, technological expertise, training, storage, transportation and ready market for agricultural produce and products is what has accounted for this decline.

However, this is not to say that the agricultural sector cannot be revamped to create the jobs, generate the revenues and bring economic growth to the country as a whole. We can realize these gains when government collaborate well with the private sector through positive, transparent and corrupt free policies.

Government must implement a policy intervention to give agric development aid to farmers & fishermen to enable them increase their produce to trigger big investments as a leverage for private sector partnership. The agric development aid shouldn’t only be in the form funds but machinery, pesticide/fertilizers working tools,and training for the farmer and fisher men. I commend the one village one dam idea by the government to make irrigation of the farm land easy. Though I do not know how the one village one dam idea will be implemented, I suggest that there should be installed pumps and tunnels that get to the farms to prevent the carrying of water by the folks. Government should partner with the private sector for the use of technology during the implementation.

Furthermore, the government private sector partnership should provide storage facilities both on site and mobile for transportation of produce to final consumers and for exportation. Most importantly government must introduce interventions that remove market barriers that the poor farmers face and improve access to support services to build confidence for growth.

The fast pacing world of technology has brought economic growth to smart well positioned economies and Ghana can only take advantage if government through the private sector implement a robust continues strategy to have the local expertise developed in the entire supply chain network.ie knowledge development, use of research & development, local innovation,creativity,foreign local partnership,mechanisations,and hybrid seeds since these have been some of the crucial bottlenecks of the agricultural sector. If these are resolved and agrochemicals and agricultural machinery is used, it will increase private sector investment to have access to the world market.

As a nation, we should realize and establish our competitive and comparative advantage and exploit it fully to bring benefit and economic growth to the people. Governments of most developed nations have successfully implemented policies that today has yielded great results both revenue and job creation for its people.

Recommendations to Government

The government of Ghana just like any of the developing country can implement these policy strategies to boost agriculture, increase the job creation and revenue generated. For the government of Ghana to keep the momentum and confidence in the agriculture sector, these policy interventions must be implemented holistically.

  1. Land Leasing Agreement; there should be a comprehensive transparent leasing agreements between the private sector and chiefs/land owner. We have had several instance where farm lands are being disputed over and farmers lost their investments.
  2. Removal of Excise Duty/Import Duties; the government should removal all excise/import duties on all agricultural machinery, fertilizers and pest control to motivate the private sector to invest more into machinery and other products to boost crop production and harvest. On the other hand, for the fisher men and livestock farmers, same can be done for the outboard motors and the fuel (premixed) for the motors. Storage facilities and veterinary products for the livestock is crucial.
  3. Food Security Systems for fair distribution of food to combat any shortages in the future. Customer and consumers need assurance that price will be stable and there would be constant supply to meet demand.
  4. Agriculture Development Loan; Government should collaborate with the central bank to make the universal banks grant loan facilities to farmers/fisher men and the private sector investors. These loans or credit to the farmer/fishermen should come with a moratorium/grace period between 180-365 days before repayments starts.
  5. Research & Development; Government should collaborate with international partners and educational institution/universities for exchange and transfer of expertise, technology and new production trends to blend the local practice.

Conclusion

I am very confident that should government heed to these recommendations made in this write up, the agriculture private sector will experience an unprecedented boost in food production, job creation and revenue generation for the massive economic growth our people need.

The present and future of the agric sector is in the hands of government to implement policies to improve the sector and the livelihood of our people. The right economic environment is key for the private sector to create the jobs we need.


©Jerry.J.AFOLABI is a financial & Economic expert who believes that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when given opportunity. He is a Change Maker who believes that Ghana will become a developed nation. He has the ability of easily getting people to get things done for the good of humanity.Email;jelilius@gmail.com/0541238987