The agricultural sector on the continent needs stronger regulations to correct existing challenges facing the sector.
“Land rights are not secure, the procurement process for inputs such as fertilizer and other inputs remain highly political in many countries undermining productivity of the sector and most of all its profitability,” said the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe.
She this said at the opening ceremony of the 2017 African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It is believed that around 40-60 percent of the continent’s labour force is engaged in the agriculture sector, most of whom are women.
According to her, because of weakness in the governance of the agriculture sector, food imports to Africa increased almost four times between 2002 and 2014, adding that one in nine people is not adequately nourished whilst one in four under-nourished people live in Africa.
In the fisheries sector, she said governance issues continue to cripple a sector with enormous potential for diversification, value addition, and overall improvements in lifestyles, especially for women.
“Currently, about 25 percent of all marine catches around Africa are by non-African countries and in many cases the catch never lands on the continent.
Boats are not registered and fishing seasons are not respected. Depleting resources and impoverishing already poor communities,” she lamented.
To address the problem, she advocated that an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework was critical.
The essential components of macroeconomic frameworks to foster structural transformation across the continent, she explained include: scaling up public investment and public goods provision; maintaining macro stability to attract and sustain private investment as well as mobilizing resources and reducing aid dependence over time.
In Ghana, the fisheries sector generates over US$1billion in revenue each year and accounts for at least 4.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
The sector also provides livelihood for an estimated 10 percent of the population, representing about 2.5million people.
Significantly, fish constitutes 60 percent of animal protein consumed in Ghana, according to the country’ Fisheries Management Plan, a national policy for the management of the marine fisheries sector (2015-2019).