An in-depth analysis by the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2017 budgetary allocations and research report on addressing funding gaps in the sector recommended that the ‘One District, One Dam” policy should prioritise agro-industries.
That, the report said, was due to their employment and income generation potentials and that such a strong linkage would contribute to enhancing the quality of, and the demand for, farm produce.
The report urged government to increase core funding to the agriculture sector and resist the temptation of resorting to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) as a substitute.
“ABFA, which is derived from oil revenue, is not a stable source of funding for the sector giving price volatility of oil. A drop in oil prices, which has been the trend in recent times, would mean less oil revenue.
“Reliance, therefore, on oil revenue alone for the sector’s growth has the potential of negatively impacting on government’s ability to fund investment expenditure in the sector,” it added.
This was made known at a National Stakeholders’ Conference on Agriculture, organised by Feed the Future’s Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA) to create a platform for stakeholders to discuss potential strategies to ensure the sustainability of agriculture in Ghana.
It is a five-year programme supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by a consortium of nonprofits, led by CARE International.
Other implementing partners include Action Aid Ghana, SEND-Ghana and WANEP, Ghana.
The report urged government to come clear on the amount of financial resources needed to execute the “Planting for Food and Jobs” policy.
It said the policy, which was expected to provide 750,000 jobs, was laudable because it had the potential of absorbing the unemployed youth as well as increase productivity, food security and nutritional status of families.
Mr Gregory Titigah, the Civil Society Organisations Strengthening and Advocacy Coordinator of NGGA, presenting the report, said it recommended that government should be clear on the source of funding for the proposed employment of 3,200 extension officers and 1,000 unemployed graduates for the “Planning for Food and Jobs” campaign.
He said government must pay attention to the implementation of the “Planting for Food and Jobs,” which, he said, has a huge potential to boost local food production, improve food security and nutrition as well as provide employment.
Mr Titigah said government needed to do more in meeting its core funding obligations to the Ministry and reduce dependence on funding from donor support and ABFA, given the challenges associated with those two funding sources.
He suggested that MOFA should be allowed to retain a higher percentage of its Internally Generated Fund to fund Goods and Services.
Participants noted that the country needed to generate funding internally to support the agriculture sector instead of over relying on donor support funds.
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