16 September 2016

‘All districts’ agric mechanization ambitious – GAWU

gawuThe General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) has cast doubts over the NDC’s manifesto promise to provide every district with a farming mechanization center when elected into power.

Not only do the agric workers view the promise as an ambitious one, they also believe the targets are misplaced.

“If we are talking about having a mechanization structure in every district with a minimum of ten tractors that is too much an ambitious project and I don’t think that it is feasible,” General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kareweh observed.

He added, “We could be thinking of increasing the existing number and making sure that in every region, there are not less than 10 or 15 districts with the interventions.”

President John Mahama at a presentation of the NDC’s manifesto highlights on Tuesday [September 13, 2016], outlined over a dozen initiatives to develop Ghana’s agric sector.

The promise followed concerns over the continuous decline in agric’s contribution to GDP. The situation has been attributed to many reasons including the absence of improved mechanization and the adverse impact of the weather.

The sector’s contribution has declined from 31.8 percent in 2009 to 19 percent in 2015.

Edward Kareweh also tells Citi Business News the time period for achieving the promise is unconvincing. “I am just not too much convinced that this could be achieved within four years.”

GAWU commends initiative on post harvest losses Meanwhile the agric workers have lauded government intervention aimed at reducing the increasing post harvest losses faced by producers of agricultural products.

They explain the move will help stabilize the incomes of the farmers.

“We only hope that as they have promised, they will fulfill the promise since it is unfortunate when you harvest and you have to sell it off because you have low prices. It is a good thing to salvage the fisher folks from the huge losses when there is bumper harvest and also to stabilize their incomes,” Mr. Kareweh further remarked.

Minority punches holes into 1 million tonnes cocoa output target President Mahama also indicated that an NDC government will put in place sustainable measures to push up cocoa output in the next crop season.

But the Minority Spokesperson on Agric and Cocoa Affairs in Parliament and MP for Kwadaso, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, tells Citi Business News the country does not have the financial strength to meet the high cost of increasing production levels.

According to him, current developments in Ghana’s cocoa sector will make it difficult to attain the 1 million tonnes output target outlined by President Mahama.

“To say that cocoa production is going up at this time when we know that the peak of 1 million tonnes was recorded in 2011/2012 crop season, is throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.”

“There is no way that Ghana could even hit 750,000 tonnes this crop season (2015/2016) which has about just 14 days to end,” Dr. Akoto intimated.

Cocoa production levels have witnessed a decline from the over 1,000,000 tonnes in the 2010/2011 crop season to a little over 740,000 tonnes in the 2014/2015 crop season.



Source: citifmonline.com

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