More Is Needed To Support Agriculture – Ntim

Mr Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has said the performance of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the promoting and supporting agriculture to address poverty has not been encouraging.

He said farmers have continued to wallow in poverty and not much by way of local interventions had been achieved with rural poverty being exacerbated with the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Mr Ntim said MMDAs have been performing creditably over the years when it comes to formulation of agriculture sector policy, minimal provision of extension services and irrigation dams among others.

He said the challenge of government over the years has been how to come out with sustainable local interventions, strategies and programmes that had the potential of creating jobs for the teaming unemployed youth to address the challenge of rural poverty.

Mr Ntim was addressing municipal and district chief executives, district coordinating directors, planners, budget officers, and a cross section of heads of departments and agencies at the launch of the “Planting for Jobs and Investments” programme in Wa on Wednesday.

The “Planting for Jobs and Investments” programme is to complement the “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative, as a key strategy intervention to cover six identified cash crops, namely cashew, shea, mango, citrus, cocoa, rubber and oil palm.

“Government will pay special attention to selected products for accelerated development including grains, fruits, vegetables, tubers oil palm, cashew, shea, cocoa, coconut, horticulture and livestock and fisheries”, he said.

Mr Ntim said poor funding for agriculture at the local level, inadequate budget provision and releases under the composite budgeting system, and weak incorporation of the department of agriculture into the district assembly system had impacted negatively on agricultural development.

He said government is embarking on the modernisation of agriculture to ensure food security as well as producing quality raw materials for industries through the “one district one factory”, “one village one dam” programme to enhance livelihoods and incomes.

The “Planting for Food and Jobs initiative would take on board, cereals, legumes, and vegetables which would become a flagship programme in Ghana.