Politics of Wednesday, 21 November 2012
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has set the modernization of the agricultural sector, as the main bait to attract electorate to vote for the party’s presidential candidate for election 2012, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, on December 7.
The NPP in its Election 2012 manifesto titled: “Transforming lives, transforming Ghana,” made available to the Ghana News Agency, set out modalities to encourage small holder farmers to adopt new and improved agricultural technologies.
It said: "Small holder farmers would be provided with quality and affordable fertilizer with an improved land tenure and acquisition.We will also encourage private sector investments into large-scale commercial agriculture that also support cooperative, small and out-grower farmers.
“We are committed to completion of the restructuring of the Land Title Registration transfer of title and use of agricultural land”.
The party noted that in order to enhance the ability of Ghanaian farmers to acquire the relevant technology to make them competitive, an NPP administration would establish an Agricultural Technological Fund to provide financing to small scale farmers at subsidized rates.
An NPP government would reposition State Owned Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to fulfill its original mandate of specifically supporting agricultural financing.
The party promises to establish 250 mechanization centres across the country to provide services to farmers at competitive prices and restructure agricultural research institutions to build on the high yielding crop varieties and technologies already developed to farmers.
The manifesto said:“We would create more access roads to our farm-gates and market centres to mitigate post-harvest lost and ensure availability of foodstuff to consumers. We would work with the private sector and traditional authorities to improve our market places, and to develop warehouses and pack houses to ensure effective and efficient distribution and to minimize post harvest lost”.
In the fishing and livestock sub-sector, the NPP seeks to develop a vibrant livestock industry in addition to fisheries.
The manifesto said the NPP will re-establish the Ministry of Fisheries to implement policies that will revive a sustainable fishing industry and ensure good practices and enhanced productivity for fishermen.
With regards to the poultry industry, the NPP seeks to introduce a short measured tariff increase that would result in relative high price for broiler meat whilst providing assistance to poultry farmers to make them competitive.
The NPP said that it will address the nutritional needs of Ghanaian children by initiating policy for pupils in secondary institutions to be fed an egg a day as part of their protein supplement.
In the cocoa sector, the NPP said that it would provide cocoa farmers good incentives through high producer prices, bonuses, cocoa scholarships and extension services to improve productivity and production.
Meanwhile, in a survey conducted by the National Commission for Civic Education titled “Election 2012: matters of concern to the Ghanaian voter” obtained by the GNA, revealed that 48.2 per cent of respondent suggested that the government should subsidize agriculture input.
Another 21.1 per cent said government must give financial support to farmers in the form of loans and scholarships for children of farmers, to enable them to continue their education to the highest level whilst 8.1 per cent called on government to provide market for farmers and also fix prices of agriculture crops.
About 7.3 per cent of the respondents called for mechanized farming, 5.3 per cent appealed for the provision of the irrigation and access roads by government, 4.6 per cent wanted government to make farming attractive to the youth, 4.1 per cent called for the provision of storage facilities for agricultural products, whilst 1.3 per cent suggested the reintroduction of state farms by government.