A traditional ruler, Daniel Nii Arde Tagoe, has urged government to introduce more innovation into the agriculture sector in a bid to attract the youth and curb the rising unemployment in the country.
Even though he lauded government’s efforts and initiatives regarding agriculture in the 2018 Budget Statement, he also reckon sustaining it and making more incentives available remain the way to go.
According to figures in the 2018 Budget Statement, agriculture declined in the 2017 sector growth by 4.3% as compared to Industry and Services which recorded a growth of 17.7% and 4.7% respectively.
“It is when government makes agriculture very attractive and packages it well, introducing more incentives will certainly attract more youth, which will also reduce the unemployment rate.
He also added that currently agriculture is still regarded by some as job for the older folks, with many youth shying away from it.
Agriculture, nonetheless remains a major driver in the economy; he explained that, “Agriculture provides wide range of employment, whiles some are farming others are harvesting, processing and transporting, so when government channels more resources into these sector, we will be home and dry” he told B&FT in an interview.
Mr Arde Tagoe, who is the chief of NII Arde mkpa family, government’s drive to support the production sector comprising agriculture is one of the surest ways to grow the economy.
The 2018 Budget has unveiled the much-anticipated ‘Marshall Plan for Agriculture (MPA)’, aimed at revamping the country’s abysmally performing agriculture sector to make it the true backbone of the economy.
Some of the initiatives under the plan include registering a total of 500,000 farmers under government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme, and also recruiting 2,700 extension agents to support it.
Again, government will distribute 200 tractors and matching implements, and 1,000 power-tillers and walking tractors to enhance agric mechanisation.
To address the challenges of irrigation, government will, in 2018, continue to facilitate and promote double-cropping by constructing 50 small dams and dugouts – making available an additional 147ha of irrigable land for crop production.
To also improve livelihoods of livestock farmers in all ten regions and increase meat production, 2,000 livestock farmers will be supported with 70,000 small ruminants (sheep and goats).