Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion ably moved by the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture.
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2013 financial year was presented to Parliament, by the Minister for Finance, Hon Seth Terkpeh, on Tuesday, 5th March 2013 in accordance with article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.
Pursuant to Orders 140 (4) and 176 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Speaker, referred the draft Estimates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report to the House.
The Committee met on the 18th and 19th March, 2013 and discussed the draft Estimates. Present at the meetings were the Hon Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr M. T. Abisa-Seidu and the Directors, Co- ordinators and representatives of the 23 directorates and departments of the Ministry.
The Committee extends its appreciation and gratitude to the Hon Minister and his staff for their input during the deliberations.
The Committee referred to the following documents during its delibera- tions.
i. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament.
iii. The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2013 financial year;
iv. The 2012 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The mission of the Ministry of Agriculture is to promote sustainable agriculture and thriving agri-business through research and technology development, effective extension and other support services to farmers, fishermen, processors and traders for improved human livelihood.
Review of performance for 2012
A Livestock Demonstration Centre was established at Weija during the year under review and about 5,000 small-scale farmers received training and livestock production technologies from the Centre. In addition, 5,687 brooded cockerels were raised and distributed to 250 farmers at a subsidized rate in 25 districts in the Ashanti and Brong- Ahafo Regions.
A total of 1,884 of breeding stock of sheep, cattle, pigs, rabbits and goats were also supplied to 1,500 farmers to increase productivity. Further to the above, 100 grandparent pigs were also imported for multiplication and distributed to pig farmers across the country.
During the year under review, 44,000 cashew clones were produced for cultivation in 2,500 new cashew farms.
Within the same year, 28,297 farmers produced 13,790 mt of seed cotton and 5,383 mt of lint. A total of 118 acres made up of 108 of cassava and 10 acres of sweet potato were established as community demonstration/multiplication sites in 64 districts in all the regions.
The construction and refurbishment of a Biotechnology Laboratory at the Crop Research Institute (CRI), Fumesua, in Kumasi was completed. New equipment and screen houses were also provided to a number of Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CS1R) under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).
Fertilizer and Seed Subsidy Programme
The Ministry also recorded significant success under the fertilizer and seed subsidy programme. In all 300,000 farmers benefitted from 170,000 mt of fertilizer and 20,000 kg of improved seeds of maize, rice and soybean.
In addition, an average of five (5) tractors with matching implements, maize shelters and water pumps were provided the Agricultural Engineering Services Centres throughout the country. One hundred and fifty (150) units of 50HP Cabrio compact tractors were imported and distributed to smallholder farmers.
Also, 400 tractor and combine harvester operators were trained in proper handling, operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment. To enhance value addition and also reduce post- harvest losses in tomato value chain, the Ministry established a tomato-processing factory in Techiman in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
During the year under review, 111 community demonstration sites for root and tuber crops were established in 64 districts in the 10 regions. In addition,
170 Farmer Based Organisations (FBO) were sensitised, trained and clustered along the agricultural value chain to form district networks in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong-Ahafo Regions.
According to the Ministry, Phase II of the rehabilitation works on the Tono Irrigation Scheme was about 90 per cent complete as at the end of December, 2012. This brought current irrigable land under the scheme to l,850 ha. Rehabilitation works on the Tanoso, Weir and Ave Afiaden-yigba projects were also completed resulting in an additional 84 ha of arable land available to farmers at these irrigation sites.
Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP)
A number of activities were executed under the above Programme. A total of 45,000 ha of land was cultivated in 2012 out of which 210,000 mt of grains was produced. In addition, 450 youth were trained in aquaculture and 50 floating cages constructed and ready for distribution to 250 youth in six (6) districts namely, South Tongu, Krachi East, South Dayi, Upper Manya Krobo, Lower Manya Krobo and Fanteakwa. One million (1,000,000) fingerlings were also distributed to 1,000 young fish farmers. In the same year, 500 youth were trained in pig and poultry production.
Outlook for 2013 fiscal year
Some of the planned programmes and activities of the Ministry for 2013 are as follows:
The Ministry will commence the implementation of the Accra Plains Irrigation Project covering an area of ll,000 ha. Work will also commence on the construction of four (4) dams at Mprumen in the Central Region and at Koori, Zuedem and Tankasa in the Builsa District of the Upper East Region. Feasibility studies will be undertaken on the design