Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Outdated agric census alarming

The contribution of agriculture, the backbone of Ghana’s economy, to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has dropped by an alarming 12.8% in seven years.

It dropped from 31.8% in 2009 to 19% as of September 2015, a period of seven years.

Currently, agriculture employs about 50% of the population. Consequently, there is a huge outcry for policies to save the sector.

Data and numerical information have played a very vital role in the growth and development of agriculture, especially in the developed countries.

It is, therefore, shocking to hear the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru, say that Ghana cannot depend on some of its present database for planning and operational purposes because the data is not current. 

He revealed that the last time the ministry carried out an agricultural census in the country was almost four decades ago, therefore such data is no longer relevant to the planning and operations of the sector. 

The advent of modern data processing equipment has enabled agricultural land use planners to utilise new techniques and meth¬odologies.

The agriculture of a place, in fact, is the result of many physical, social, cultural, eco­nomic, institutional, technological, political and psychological forces interacting with each other; therefore, the growth, development and problems of agriculture cannot be solved by fractional and isolated approaches. 

In overcoming these problems, a multi-disciplinary approach is required, and a large body of data is to be incorporated in any project of research.

The facts and figures about agriculture, whether they relate to land use, irrigation, forestry, agricultural production, yield and prices of the agricultural commodities are called agricultural data.

Agricultural data refer to information presented quantitatively, that is, figures on the various aspects of agriculture of a macro or micro region.

Agricultural data are helpful in estimating, planning and forecasting the agri­cultural operation of a given unit of area at a given point of time.

Agricultural statistics have a very wide coverage and its scope is very wide. 

A detailed agricultural statistics is required at the national to the village and farm levels for agricultural policy decision, placing agricultural development and estimates of the agricultural and national income.

It is important as a country we go back and resource the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to conduct agric census to enhance productivity of agriculture.

An agricultural census would enable the ministry to determine the extent of the loss of the nation’s forest cover, the quantum of arable lands and the current levels of soil fertility. 

Such census would also help the ministry to know the major crops cultivated nationwide and the potential of any new crop. 




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