Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who is also a member of the Appointment Committee of Parliament was questioning the minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto during his turn at the vetting.
According to Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, he is alarmed that the ministry for Food and Agriculture has over three thousand fleets of vehicles with only fifty tractors.
According to him, tractors are very important in farming, and it cannot be true that a whole Ministry of Agriculture with its huge budgetary allocation will have such a low number of tractors.
“I’m looking at page 215 of your handing over notes. I’m quite alarmed that out of the 3,751 vehicular fleets that you have, only fifty are tractors. The tractors are even less than a quarter of the 260 districts we have in Ghana. I would have expected that tractors would even be more than the vehicles and motorbikes. I can’t believe this is true”. Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa queried with disappointment.
In Response, The minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto indicated that the trend is normal.
According to him, the last eight years of the NDC government saw no maintenance of machinery at the various mechanization centers.
“I’m surprised that Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa is expressing surprise because the farm mechanization centers were established under the former President John Agyekum Kufour administration in 2006. This was in the build-up against 56 farms mechanization centers where smallholder farmers could go and hire services to for their work. After eight years, almost all of them came to a standstill. Because of lack of maintained, spare parts, mismanagement, and many others”. He answered.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto added that his administration has started a new program to distribute more tractors to the various mechanization centers across the country.
“So when we came on board, there were absolutely no farming machination centers working. And that is the reason we only have fifty tractors are available. I’m even surprised because I thought there would be no tractors. We have started a new program to distribute more tractors to the various District Assemblies and mechanization centers”. He noted.
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