Give practical meaning to agriculture - Odike to govt

BY: Victor Kwawukume

The Founder and Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Mr Kwasi Addai aka Odike, has called on the government to give practical meaning to agriculture.

In line with this, he has called on the government to ensure that ministers of state, as well as metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, as part of their official appointment, are made to undertake an agricultural project.

Apart from that serving as leader by example, Mr Addai believes that such a move will boost the confidence of the youth who are the target of the agricultural policies of the state.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Odike said the government should make all the needed support available to these state officials to ensure that their projects succeeded in order to serve as a perfect example to the entire nation.

That way, he said, practical meaning would be given to the government’s policy on agriculture as the major employment provider to Ghanaians.

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Boost for One-district, One-Factory

In addition, Mr Addai said such an intervention would provide the needed input to feed the factories that would be set up under the one-district, one-factory initiative of the government, which is aimed at adding value to the country’s raw produce.

He was of the view that agriculture held the key to solving the youth unemployment challenge of the country but pointed out that unfortunately, the perception that had characterised it over the years was that it was an area preserved for only the uneducated.

He was, therefore, of the opinion that there was the need to change that perception and bring out more forcefully the benefits of agriculture and its capacity to positively change the economic profile of the country.

Mr Addai maintained that such a policy intervention should not only be limited to government appointees but one that should also be embraced by leadership at all levels in the country, including traditional and church leaders.

Such an action by the revered persons in society, he said, would have a cascading effect on the populace and would culminate in a renewed national consciousness that would make agriculture the true backbone of the economy.

The NPP on agriculture

The 2016 manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) posits that “agriculture continues to be the anchor of the country’s economy, employing more than half of our workforce. Growth in this sector has declined dramatically under the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC’s) administration.

“Food is unnecessarily expensive in a country that is blessed with fertile land. Our production methods are not modern and income levels of farmers and fisherfolk remain low, thus making the sector unattractive for the youth as a sustainable means of livelihood.

“Our vision for the next four years is to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity.

“The NPP will pursue a value-addition strategy, aimed at rapidly revamping agro-processing and developing new and stable markets for our products.

“Our policies and interventions will ensure that our farmers and fisherfolk earn higher incomes. Our reforms will encompass the full agricultural value chain and create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural produce.

“District assemblies and traditional authorities will be assigned specific roles in agricultural development and the NPP will adopt policies specifically targeted at supporting women in agriculture.”