Agric is only sector with positive growth – GAWU calls for more attention for sector

The agriculture sector has for the second consecutive quarter emerged as the only sector which recorded a positive GDP growth in the country, according to data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

The sector in the third quarter of 2020 recorded a GDP growth of 8.3 per cent. This comes after it recorded a GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in the second quarter.

The industry sector on the other hand contracted by 5.7 per cent in the second quarter and contracted by 5.1 per cent in the third quarter, while the services sector also contracted by 2.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent in the second and third quarters respectively.

Speaking in an interview with the Goldstreet Business, the General Secretary of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Mr Edward Kareweh, said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the reality on the ground that agriculture remained the country’s most resilient sector.

He said this was also an indication that agriculture would remain the most resilient in the near future.

He further pointed out that the sector was able to withstand the shocks of the pandemic because agriculture in the country was largely insulated from external factors.

“If you look at the general agriculture production in the country, 80 per cent of domestic production is in the hands of small holder farmers and these farmers are not largely exposed to the global economy directly. Their production is not dependent on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain factors in the global economy.

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“They have their own seed and have control over it, have control over their production needs and depend largely on themselves to consume and market their produce. Agriculture is largely insulated from external factors,” he stated.

Mr Kareweh noted that the resilience of the sector was an indication that the country must focus more on agriculture going forward.

“Generally, we have not given the needed attention to agriculture in the country. Efforts are being made to upscale what we have been doing over the years but it will be in-appropriate for us to conclude that we have given the sector the needed attention.

“We have always been saying that the future of this country and its developmental transformation cannot be guaranteed when if we don’t pay the needed attention and make the right investments in agriculture.

“In a very massive global pandemic like COVID-19, the resilience of the sector must remind us that we should focus more on agriculture than we are doing now. The economic transformation of the country will largely depend on agriculture and we can leverage on this sector to grow other sectors of the economy,” he pointed out.

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Third quarter GDP growth

The economy contracted by 1.1 per cent in the third quarter of the year. This is after it contracted by 3.6 per cent in the second quarter.

Presenting the third quarter data, Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, said the GDP (Including Oil & Gas) estimate at constant 2013 prices for the 3rd quarter of 2020 was GH¢41.05 billion compared to GH¢41.51 billion the third quarter of 2019.

He said the non-oil GDP at constant 2013 prices for the 3rd quarter of 2020 was GH¢37.79 billion compared to GH¢37.95 billion for the same period in 2019.

Largest sector

He said the services sector was the largest sector of the Ghanaian economy in the third quarter of 2020 with a share of 42 per cent of GDP at basic prices.

The GDP share of industry and agriculture were 35 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

Agriculture sector

In the Agriculture sector, the fishing sub-sector grew by 7.7 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020, compared to 0.05 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

The crop subsector also grew by 2.2 per cent compared to 0.6 per cent recorded in the 2nd quarter of 2020. The Livestock sub-sector grew at a slightly lower rate of 1.1 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020, compared to a growth of 1.2 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

The forestry and logging subsector contracted by 1.8 per cent compared to a contraction of 2.1 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

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Industry sector

Within the industry sector, the electricity sub-sector recorded a growth of 2.8 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020, compared to 3.5 per cent growth recorded in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

Water supply, sewerage, waste management & remediation activities sub-sector grew by 1.4 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020, compared to 2.4 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

Construction sub-sector grew by 1.0 per cent in 3rd quarter of 2020, compared to 0.9 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

Manufacturing recovered from a contraction of 3.6 per cent in 2nd quarter of 2020 to record a 1.1 per cent growth rate in the 3rd quarter of 2020.

The mining and quarrying sub-sector contracted by 4.5 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020, from -1.4 per cent recorded in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

Services sector

In the Services sector, information and communication grew by 8.2 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020 compared to 15.7 per cent in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

The real estate sub-sector also slowed to 3.2 per cent in the 3rd quarter of 2020 from 0.8 per cent recorded in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

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