The opposition New Patriotic Party(NPP) has bemoaned the poor growth rate of the Agriculture sector describing it as sluggish.

At a Press conference today to congratulate farmers and Fisherfolk on the occasion of Farmer’s Day to be marked tomorrow, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ranking member of the parliamentary select committee on Food and Agriculture as well as Cocoa Affairs, and Minority Spokesperson in the sector said the sector has slowed more than necessary in the past years.

“By the measure of annual growth rate performance, Ghana’s agriculture has been sliding or at best sluggish. From 7.4% in the year 2008 and 7.2% in 2009, agriculture growth slowed to 5.3% in 2010, hitting the bottom of 0.8% in 2011. It then stayed down at 2,3% in 2012 recovering somewhat to 5.7% in 2013 and then 4.6% in 2014. The growth registered in the two years in 2013 and 2014 was in large part on an account of unprecedented growth in forestry and logging activities.

He continued: “The crop sub-sector which engages most of the 4.5 million farmers in this country recorded growth of only 3.6% in 2014. The 2015 Budget statement expected a 5.8% growth. The recorded growth was not even half of it. Only 2.4% in 2015. So over the last 6 years since 2010, we have an average growth of only 3.5% a year for 2010 till now. With population growth rate of 2.7% per annum, this means that Ghanaian agriculture is growing at a net rate of only 0.8% per capita per annum. If account is taken of the rapid urbanization typified by the Kayayie phenomenon, then agriculture growth per-capita drops into negative value. So you see that the sector is not performing at all.”

Dr. Akoto Osei said a Nana Akufo-Addo led government will restore budgetary cuts suffered by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, recruit more extension officers and invest heavily in the sector which is almost collapsing under the current government.

This year marks the 32nd farmer’s day celebration which will be observed in the Brong Ahafo region under the theme ‘Agriculture: A Business Response to Economic Growth’.