Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pragmatic Agriculture Policies Lower food Inflation

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Honourable Kwesi Ahwoi, has attributed the government’s pragmatic policies within the Agric sector to the lowest food inflation of 5.33 per cent in August 2010.

According to him, the Agric sector contributed positively towards the significant reduction of a 16 per cent inflation in December 2009 to a single digit inflation of 9.5 per cent in June 2010.

The Minister, who was speaking at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra, today, said the aim of the Ministry is to promote sustainable agriculture and thriving agribusiness using research and technology development, effective extension and other services to support farmers, processors and traders along the value chain for improved livelihood.

The Minister talked about the Production of a Medium Term Sector Investment Plan (METASIP 2010-2015) with inputs from all stakeholders which have guided the strategic implementation of agriculture sector programmes and activities.

This he ,said has improved youth employment through the block farm Programme in creating 4700 jobs in the 2009 farming season and also plan to create 197,000 in 2010, and increase adoption and use of fertiliser as well as improved seeds by farmers.

The Minister disclosed the establishment of 84 Agriculture Mechanisation Service Centres in 84 districts as private sector Agric Machinery leasing ventures to provide affordable mechanised services to farmers.

He indicated that, in 2009 Ghana imported 383,985 metric tonnes of rice with a corresponding value of US $218.5 million.

He mentioned that, commercial fish farmers in groups have been assisted and trained in cage net weaving, construction, installation and fingerlings stocking.

Touching on the challenges of the sector, Mr. Ahwoi indicated that, the low intake of undergraduates in Agriculture at the Universities, inadequate and delays in the release of Government of Ghana funds and dilapidated state of buildings laboratories and equipments, veterinary clinics among others, are the major problems.

He said, it is expected that 3,500 youth will be supported to undertake and develop viable pond and cage culture enterprises in five Regions (Western Central, Eastern, Volta and Brong Ahafo) by 2011.

He said his Ministry, is looking forward to stronger collaboration and working relationship with the Development Partners, Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAS), and Civil Society to implement the METASIP.

A Deputy Minister for Information, Mr. James Agyenim Boateng, who chaired the occasion, expressed his profound gratitude to the Ministry and the Media for the tremendous support they are giving in building a Better Ghana.

Source: ISD (Antoinette Mintah & Mabel Addo)

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