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Quayson Writes : Why Government Must Not Be Complacent About Success Of “Planting For Food And Jobs”-Some History Lessons

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Congratulations to NPP

May be some don’t really understand why light has been thrown on the positive effect of “planting for food and jobs” this week. Well let me tell you, it’s because of the ongoing farmer’s day celebration so definitely some publicity must be created around the abundant harvest by reason of government’s intervention.

I congratulate Akuffo-Addo and the NPP government for such an achievement. Normally I prefer to focus on the street voice not just all the big grammar in government. The feedback on the street, radio, TV and the market is that our local produce are in abundance. I give credit again to the government for that but the history I followed about Ghana tells me this is the third time there is such bumper harvest in Ghana under a government. I want to use this opportunity to analyse the impact of the planting for food and job initiative by government in Ghana and how this initiative will give government a chance in the 2020 elections, tracing the history of Ghana.

History of bumper harvests in Ghana

There was an Agriculture Minister after the over throw of Nkrumah who caused the country to have this same type of bumper harvest with good testimonies and evident display of our local produce all over Ghana. I believe it was even greater than what we are seeing today judging from the documentary I watched on GTVGov sometime ago. At the time I heard food became very cheap in Ghana. This Agric minister having fed Ghanaians well, decided to contest as a president of Ghana but lost miserably.

Fast forward General I . K Acheampong also came into the picture with “operation feed yourself” that had people planting gardens at their backyard. The country reaped bumper harvest the second time around. Things like tomatoes, pepper, maize etc were being grown by almost everyone in Ghana and so people were well fed by this subsistence practice and spent less in the market. May be just buying fish, meat, spices, oil, rice etc to compliment what they had grown in their gardens.

Rawlings take over of government

As if Ghana was experiencing a little bit of paradise on earth a Coupe Detat led by a young soldier called Flt lieutenant Jerry Rawlings will be carried out that brought Dr. Hilla Liman to power and executing the then Gen. I. K Acheampong among the others by firing squad at Teshie Sea Side. Acheampong government was marred with serious corruption and accussations. The government was accussed of giving cars to women after sleeping with them. That is where the popular cliche of “fa wutu b3 gyi golf” was born.

Infact all government that has come to Ghana was accussed of corruption even including Nkrumah’s government. Nkrumah himself admitted to that assertion in his letter to Dr. Busia whiles he was in exile in Guinea Conakry where he was Co-president. Now J.J would turn around again and take back power from Dr. Liman because he thought the country was mismanaged using the same Coupe Detat.

He ruled from 1979 and himself will plunge the country into famine in 1982. Around that time Ghana was very hard more than the complains we encounter today under Akuffo-Addo. As fate would have it we would come off this dearth or famine as the years progressed as things got better but Ghana was still under military rule. The party in power then was PNDC where we were ruled with decrees not Acts of Parliament.

Return to constitutional rule

By Western pressure and influence, Ghana would return to constitutional government by referendum and general elections which J.J won in 1992. We saw young lawyers like Akuffo-Addo our current president fighting to get Ghana to be a constitutional government which eventually happened. Akuffo-Addo we are seeing today is not today’s Akuffo-Addo, he has rich experience about issues of government and somewhat J.J himself dreaded him but suppressed him back then with military rule. Now it would seem J.J will patronise him with lots of praises in this current administration and are now on good terms but it wasn’t so before between the two.

Akuffo-Addo will be on the low as he managed his father’s law firm amidst the persecutions from NDC government yet he stood his grounds and fought for his party NPP. The first NPP candidate to challenge J.J Rawlings was Prof. Adu Boahen whereby he lost in 1992. Prof. Adu Boahen later died leaving the mantle for J.A Kuffour to challenge Rawlings.

In all these periods Akuffo-Addo had been competing for flagbearership of his party but was always loosing to the better opponents. Akuffo-Addo is not new to picking forms and filing fees, something that NDC aspirants are crying about the huge cost of it today. Kuffour would emerge the flagbearer of NPP over Akuffo-Addo in the year 1996 but lose to Jerry John Rawlings in the general elections.

Rawlings had to step down per constitutional provisions in 2000 for Prof. Mills who later lost against Kuffour and again in 2004. In 2008 Prof. Mills will win over Akuffo-Addo but could not finish 2012 but died. Mahama his vice took over in 2011 as president and won the seat again in 2012 but was defeated in 2016 elections by Akuffo-Addo.

In all these various ins and outs of governments, agriculture had been normal until now that we are experiencing another increase in food crops like it was before. The point I want to make in all this is that although the government has done well Ghana’s history has not seen bumper harvest in agriculture taken or sustained anyone in government office so the current president and Agric minister should not be complacent over the bumper harvest by their intervention because that is not what will maintain them in government come 2020.

Even after the famine in 1982 people voted for Rawlings in 1992 to become president of Ghana. If anything at all you will think that Ghanaians having suffered famine in 1982 will advise themselves to vote out Jerry John Rawlings when they had the opportunity in the 1992 elections but they did not because like I’ve already said agriculture bumper harvest or famine has never determined who occupies the seat of government in Ghana.

Can Agriculture sustain NPP in power?

Yes it is true that it is agriculture that feeds the nation but I think Ghanaians have gotten used to the fact that they find ways and means to survive whether there is bumper harvest or not so they will not use that as a yardstick to vote any political party into power or otherwise they would have easily bought into the idea of Dan Lartey when he was campaigning about domestication in the previous elections but we saw how he performed abysmally.

I am not trying to discourage the government from continuing with its good work in the area of agriculture. If anything at all I am very happy about the results of the planting for food and jobs in Ghana has been able to achieve but my question is will it be able to sustain the government in power in the year 2020 judging from the analysis and history of Ghana that I have just given?

Honestly to me I don’t think so, I think the increase in local food crops that we are now even able to export some to neighbouring countries should not make the government complacent in fulfilling all the promises it gave to Ghanaians in its manifesto to win elections in the year 2016. This is exactly the point I’m trying to make that agriculture yield will not sustain the NPP government in power in the year 2020. I therefore pray that the government will fully be able to fulfill the promise of one district one factory, one village one dam and all the various promises that it gave to the people of Ghana before they voted for it.

Way froward for NPP in 2020

If the government is able to fulfill it’s campaign promises and be able to employ more people, alleviate the suffering of the youth by creating more social intervention programmes, beef up the system of NHIS, absorb all those who have been unemployed as a result of some of the policies of this government in recent times into gainful employment, help businesses to lessen their tax burden as there is a lot of complaints about import duties by various importers of western goods to Ghana, be able to solve the problem of increases in fuel prices, control the cedi that it does not depreciate significantly against trading currencies, provide constant power to Ghanaians to avoid “dumsorisation”, build our various roads, bridges, build more schools to curb the double tracking in our Senior High Schools, hospitals, provide quality healthcare, industralise our economy, provide better working conditions for Ghanaians, improve our GDP, maintain our inflation rate at an appreciable level, servicing our foreign debts and cut down on our borrowing, reduce the interest rates on loans so the private sector can borrow and do business, put policies in place to favour private business men and women, reduce imports but increase exports, attract more investors, boost made in Ghana produce etc, then can the government can be assured of power in the year 2020. Anything short of that will mean the result of 2020 elections can sway to any political party that wins the heart of Ghanaians.