President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the new national report of the Ghana Census of Agriculture, the first time this has happened in 33 years.
At the event at Jubilee House, the seat of the presidency in Accra, on Monday 19 October 2020, President Akufo-Addo noted that the importance of agriculture to Ghana’s growth and development demands that data on the sector, which informs the formulation of strategies and policies, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of such policies, must be accurate and up to date.
“In any well-governed state, both the population census and the census of agriculture are taken every ten years. In the early decades of our nationhood, the census of agriculture was conducted every ten years – the first in 1963, the second in 1975, and the third in 1985,” he said.
He continued, “Shamefully, since then, for the last 33 years, no such census had been undertaken. Policy, prior to my assumption of office, had consequently been based largely on guesswork.
“It is no wonder that this period witnessed the systematic decline of our agriculture. We cannot afford such neglect again.”
The president recalled how, on Friday 8 June 2018 in Sefwi Wiawso, during a working visit to the Western Region, he launched the Ghana Census of Agriculture, the first such exercise in over three decades.
The purpose of the census is to help provide a basis to monitor the progress of the government’s interventions, offer insights on transformations in the sector, and, most importantly, ensure the integration of the agriculture, industry and services sectors.
The findings from the report show that there are 2,585,531 agricultural households in Ghana, with a population of 11,340,947. Women make up 50.5% of this population and males 49.5%.
Agricultural activity in Ghana, the report says, remains largely rural (75.2%) and rudimentary, with little innovation and modernisation. The use of modern tools and equipment such as tractors, shellers, power tillers, hatcheries/incubators, meat processing equipment and milking equipment is negligible.
Tractors are the most used, yet the least owned equipment. Fertiliser is not used by most holders. Use of pesticides is highly prevalent among holders. And crop cultivation remains predominantly dependent on rain.
The report also shows that the sector remains unfriendly to special interest groups, including people who face difficulties in performing activity and women. The level of education among agricultural stakeholders is low. The sector, to a large extent, is also characterised by consumption of its own produce
Most parcels of land used for cultivating crops are smaller than two acres, and the youth generally find agribusiness unattractive.
“From these results, it is clear that agriculture continues to be the anchor of the country’s economy. The data also points to the fact that production methods are not modern, and income levels of farmers and fisherfolk remain low, making the sector unattractive to the youth as a viable means of livelihood,” the president said.
He stressed that this is why, over the past three years and ten months, through the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, “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 guests that the government, through the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, is pursuing a value-addition strategy, aimed at ramping up agro-processing rapidly, and developing new and stable markets for Ghanaian produce.
“PFJ 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 direct and indirect jobs,” he said.
Click on the link below to listen to the address of President Akufo-Addo
Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio