The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has expressed its dissatisfaction with the provisions made for the agriculture sector in the 2023 Budget Statement.
General Secretary of the Union, Edward Kareweh, said the union did understand what the Finance Minister insinuated when he said the Government had made progress in the agriculture sector.
“When they [Government] say they are making progress, what do they mean, what is that progress? And what do they mean when they say they are going to increase inputs and fertilizer, by what means?”
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, indicated that efforts are underway towards the establishment and expansion of local fertilizer production plants, as well as some financial commitment aimed at supporting farmers.
The Finance Minister also revealed that the Government had plans in place to have insurance policies for farmers across the country.
But Mr. Kareweh complained of a contrast between the government’s deeds and statements.
He lamented the cut in subsidies and quantities of fertilizer supplied to farmers for the 2022 season.
“The Ministry has cut down expenditure on agriculture from 2021, the subsidy on fertilizer was 36 percent, and in 2022, it has been reduced to 15 percent. The total number of subsidized fertilizers in 2021 has also been cut down up to a quarter and so if you see a Government policy direction in this way prior to budget and the budget comes, and it does not tell you clearly that it is reversing this. It is skeptical.”
Mr. Kareweh also said his union was not impressed with the consistent policy statements with no action.
“We are not impressed because the challenges confronting the agric sector are enormous and you can’t use general policy statements to address those challenges, so we need specific, tangible, and measurable targeted measures and I am yet to see that in the budget.”