The 2020 budget statement was read on the floor of parliament by Ghana’s finance minister on Wednesday, October 13th , 2019.
Whiles many sectors have had their expectations met in one way or the other on that faithful Wednesday, some sectors have also not had their clue of the budget , not to even talk of a fail allocation. The agricultural sector stands tall in this situation.
As a graduate who undertook my research findings in fall armyworm and it’s impact on agricultural productivity, I took the time and pain to carefully read through the 2020 budget with the expectation of identifying how this ‘agricultural evil’ would be addressed.
I am very much surprised by the fact that, the government has failed to outlined even a single vision regarding how the fall armyworm would be addressed and which I find extremely distasteful. My statement is justified by Ghana’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) , which seek to “end hunger , achieve food security and improved food nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” of which our dear nation is part.
This food production sector since 2017 has suffered in the hands of the fall armyworm in the area of cereals and grains production. My expectation was that , efforts made and successes chalked(If any) would be outlined in the 2020 budget but was sidelined. As to whether the sector ministry led by Hon. Owusu Afriyie has been silence on their successes and/or hindrances concerning the fall armyworm is what I cannot tell because I believe voicing these successes and hindrances out is vital in our subsequent efforts at controlling the menace .
I appreciate the sector minister’s efforts in the agricultural sector over these few years , and his ministry’s few plans for the subsequent years. But most disappointed in his failure to outline the minister’s moves on the state of the fall armyworm and outlined visions on way forward(control) as done under paragraphs 273 and 274 of page 59 .
Indeed, the silence on this very menace spells doom for the sector because agriculture sector (mainly food crop production) contributes chunk of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
In this regard, I would humbly request that the sector minister(Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto) be summoned to parliament to answer questions revolving around his ministry’s records and influence of the fall armyworm, and how his ministry intends offering either an interim or permanent solution to this very sector impediment.
With reference to page 58 , under paragraph 266, there has not been much emphasis on how this canker will be addressed and if we are not careful as an agricultural-strived nation to safeguard our food crops(mainly maize) from the hands of the fall armyworm , we will plunge this country into hunger and malnutrition in the subsequent years which would undoubtedly nullify government’s ‘planting for food and jobs’ policy and also prevent us from achieving the SDG 2.
I am dissatisfied with this development as an agricultural expert who has undertaken my research on the fall armyworm because persons who have equally ventured into this study can readily tell how this deadly pest can cripple the agricultural sector.
Ghana is here today simply on the impact of agriculture and so let us rise to protect our routes and foundations .
My humble opinion on the 2020 budget if only we aim at ‘consolidating the gains for growth, jobs, & for prosperity for all ‘….
Thank you …!!
*OSCAR KOMLA BEDZRA*
*📞📞📞 …. 0249938890*