President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the 2017/2018 National Report of the Ghana Census of Agriculture.
The Census report will provide a basis to monitor the progress of Government’s interventions, offer insights on the transformation of the sector, and ensure the integration of the agriculture, industry and services sectors.
The census of agriculture is supposed to be taken every ten years. The last time one was taken in Ghana was 33 years ago- The first in 1963, the second in 1975, and the third in 1985.
At a short ceremony at the Jubilee House, Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted that the importance of agriculture to Ghana’s growth and development demands that the data on the sector, which informed the formulation of strategies and policies, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of such policies, must be accurate and up-to-date.
He noted that in the early decades of Ghana's nationhood, the census of agriculture was conducted every ten years, but for the last 33 years, no such enumeration had been undertaken.
The President said prior to his assumption of office in 2017, policy had consequently been based largely on guess work, which according to him, led to systematic decline of Ghana's agriculture.
He recalled how, on June 8, 2018, at Sefwi Wiawso, as part of his working visit to the Western Region, he launched the Ghana Census of Agriculture, the first time in 33 years that such a census was to be conducted.
The Report shows that there are 2,585,531 agricultural households in the country, with a population of 11,340,947, with women making up 50.5% of the population, and males making up 49.5%.
According to the Report, 75.2 per cent of agricultural activity in the country remains mainly rural and rudimentary, with little innovation and modernisation.
It also suggest that the use of modern tools and equipment such as tractors, shellers, power tillers, hatchery/incubator, meat processing equipment and milking equipment is negligible; tractors are the most used, yet the least owned equipment; fertilizer is not used by most holders; the use of pesticides is highly prevalent among holders; and crop cultivation is predominantly dependent on rain.
Additionally, the Report indicated that the sector remains unfriendly to special interest groups, including persons with difficulty in performing activities and women; the level of education among agricultural holders is low; and the sector, to a large extent, is characterised by consumption of its own produce.
The majority of parcels of land used for the cultivation of crops is smaller than 2 acres, with the youth, generally, finding agribusiness unattractive.
“From these results, it is clear that agriculture continues to be the anchor of the country’s economy," President Akufo-Addo noted.
"The data also point to the fact that production methods are not modern, and income levels of farmers and fisher-folk remain low, making the sector unattractive to the youth as a viable means of livelihood,” he said.
The President said that was why government instituted its flagship programme, Planting for food and Jobs, to change the fortunes of Ghana's agriculture.
“We have begun to change the narrative by modernising agriculture, improving production efficiency, achieving food security, and guaranteeing profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity.”
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that Government, through the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, is pursuing a value-addition strategy, aimed at rapidly ramping up agro-processing, and developing new and stable markets for our products.
“Planting for Food and Jobs has not only increased substantially the production of maize, rice, soybean and sorghum, and transformed our nation into a net exporter of food, but has also created some two million jobs direct and indirect jobs,” he emphasized.