The declining fortunes of Ghana’s agricultural sector

Ghana’s agricultural sector has declined steadily in the last seven (7) years, in terms of its contribution to Gross Domestic Product.

According to provisional data captured in 2016 budget released by the Ministry of Finance, the sector’s contribution to GDP in 2015 is estimated at 19%, as compared with the 21.5 percent it recorded in 2014. Agricultural Sector Distribution of GDP, 2009-2015

The consistent decline is a cause for concern considering the agricultural sector employs 44.7% of Ghana population that are15 years and older. Despite a 3.6% growth target for the sector in 2015, provisional data by the Ghana  Statistical Service (GSS) and also captured in the 2016 Budget statement shows the sector has only grown by 0.04%. In 2014, the agricultural sector grew by 4.6% according to revised data by the GSS despite a 5.2% target for the year.

This comes after an impressive 5.2% growth in 2013 despite a target of 4.9% in that same year, in the previous year the sector grew by 1.3% in 2012 against a 4.8% target.

Provisional data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show real GDP is expected to grow by 4.1 percent in 2015, representing a slight increase from the revised figure of 4.0 percent recorded in 2014 and the revised 2015 Mid-Year GDP growth target of 3.5 percent. The GSS data pegs Industry Sector growth at 9.1 percent, followed by the

Services Sector (4.7%) and Agriculture Sector (0.04%).

All subsectors in the Agricultural Sector, apart from the Crops subsector, are expected to record positive growth rates in 2015, led by the Livestock and Fishing subsectors. The Minister of finance Seth Terkper attributed the Crops subsector’s decline to the sub sector’s “large weight”.


The Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has expressed concern about the consistent drop in the contribution of the Agricultural sector to the economy. According to the General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kareweh, said the  performance of the crop sub-sector is most worrying considering it the direct impact on people’s livelihood.

“If you look at the fact that it is the crop sub sector that has to do with the basics of

Ghanaians, example banana, cassava, maize and all the food stuffs consumed by Ghanaians particular those in the low income group , the definitely that should raise a concern for worry”, he stated.

Meanwhile a senior economist at the University of Ghana Dr. Ebo Turkson says available statistics show the country is shifting attention from the agricultural to the oil and Gas sector.

Dr Turkson said, “We have neglected agriculture ever since we discovered oil , and I remember initially there was a call for Ghana to make sure this does not happen.  If you look at even the budget and the initiatives that government wants to pursue in 2016, there is not much for Agriculture. Once we don’t give a lot of attention to agriculture these are the results we will get.”

According to the Executive Director of the Integrated Social Development Center(ISODEC) Dr Steve Manteau , “ knowing very well that the Agric sector provides

employment for a vast majority of Ghanaians , I see no reason why the Gas will be enjoying from the oil fields is only being seen as the solution for our energy problems without any plans to link it to the Agric sector”.


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