A five-year analysis of the national budget – 2020 to 2024 – by the B&FT found that the country has consistently fallen short of meeting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) allocation target.
Ghana became a signatory to the CAADP in 2009, committing to allocate ten percent of the national budget to agriculture, with the primary goal of augmenting food production, mitigating hunger and bolstering responses to food emergencies under the Malabo Declaration.
However, fifteen years after joining the programme, the country has on average apportioned a meagre two percent of the total national budget to the agricultural sector.
This, according to Senior Programmes Officer of SEND Ghana, Nuamah Agyeman, is in stark contrast with to ongoing assertion that agriculture serves as the economy’s backbone.
In its analysis of the 2024 agriculture sector budget, SEND Ghana urged government to renew and deepen investment spending in the sector.
“While recognising government’s commendable efforts in introducing flagship programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, among others, as a demonstration of commitment to agricultural investments, the success of these initiatives hinges on a substantial increase in budgetary allocations,” Madam Agyeman said.
She maintained that government must elevate its budgetary commitment to the agricultural sector in line with the CAADP agreement, so as to fortify the country’s resilience against food crisis.
The 2024 budget indicates that food inflation remains high in the country despite a 6.3 percent growth in agriculture last year.
Agricultural sector expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure in 2023 increased marginally, to 1.95 percent above the 2022 figure of 1.86 percent.
The 6.3 percent growth last year, according to industry players, could be due to the marginal increase in expenditure.
To date, 43 African countries have formally joined the CAADP process, of which about 39 have developed formal national agriculture and food security investment strategies.
The African Agricultural Transformation Scorecard (AATS) – Malabo Declaration, currently ranks the country’s agriculture performance at 6.67 out of 10 on the continent.
AATS indicates that Mali, Morocco and Rwanda’s agriculture sector performance are stronger than Ghana’s.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have indicated that considering the agricultural sector’s condition and food insecurity, expectations of key provisions to drive agricultural transformation, improve food production, reduce food prices and farmers’ livelihoods were not met in the 2024 budget.