Agric sector needs strong regulation – ECA boss

Vera-Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

The agricultural sector on the continent needs stronger regulations to correct the existing governance processes that are fraught with weakness, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe, has said.

“Land rights are not secure, the procurement process for inputs such as fertilizer and other inputs remain highly political in many countries undermining productivity of the sector and most of all its profitability,” she said at the opening ceremony of the 2017 African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It is reckoned that 40-60 percent of Africa’s labour force is engaged in the agriculture sector, most of which are women.

She said because of the weakness in the governance of the agriculture sector, food imports to Africa increased almost four times between 2002 and 2014, adding that one in nine people is not adequately nourished and one in four under nourished people live in Africa.

In the fisheries sector, she said governance issues continue to cripple a sector with enormous potential for diversification, value addition, and overall improvements in lifestyles, especially for women.

“Currently, about 25 percent of all marine catches around Africa are by non-African countries and in many cases the catch never lands on the continent.

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Boats are not registered and fishing seasons are not respected. Depleting resources and impoverishing already poor communities,” she said.

To address this problem, she said an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework is critical.

The essential components of macroeconomic frameworks to foster structural transformation across the continent, she said include: scaling up public investment and public goods provision; maintaining macro stability to attract and sustain private investment as well as mobilizing resources and reducing aid dependence over time.

In Ghana, the fisheries sector generates over US$1billion in revenue each year and accounts for at least 4.5 percent of the country’s GDP. The sector also provides livelihood for an estimated 10 percent of the population, representing about 2.5million people.

Significantly, fish constitutes 60 percent of animal protein consumed in Ghana, according to the Fisheries Management Plan in Ghana, a national policy for the management of the marine fisheries sector (2015-2019).

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