Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, a Government Statistician has expressed worry about journalists’ inability to interpret and communicate scientific data by the Ghana Statistical Service to influence policy decision making for sustainable development.
He said often times media practitioners found it difficult to understand and report on data conducted by the Service relevant for national planning and implementation of programmes and said the situation needed to be addressed.
Professor Annim, revealed this at Tamale in the Northern Region during a two-day training on statistical data interpretation and communication for selected journalists from the Northern sector.
The training, which was organized by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) brought together about 25 media practitioners, from the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
The Statistician noted the Ghana Statistics Service was the only mandated institution responsible for conducting accurate data for national planning and noted that the media needed to always confirm from the Service regarding information from other institutions.
Professor Annim said the recent report of the Ghana Census of Agriculture conducted by the Service revealed that for the country to achieve improved and sustained agriculture productivity, government and other stakeholders must invest in making the sector attractive women, youth and persons with disabilities.
“We really need to drive mechanization from a multi-sectoral point of view, it should not be the responsibility of only the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, but we need to get other agencies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry facilitating the markets.
“From the study we realized that in excess of 45,000 persons involved agriculture activities, the youth did not find the sector attractive, so the need to ensure that these special groups are targeted and roll out interventions that will make agriculture attractive to these interest groups.”
He said the study revealed that about four out of five persons involved in agriculture activities in Ghana have neither attended school or have acquired only basic education and this, has made it difficult for them to fully appreciate and effectively employ modern agriculture technologies and mechanization methods to improve productivity.
Professor Annim disclosed that about 21 percent of persons involved in agriculture activities use tractors in their work while about one out three persons who use tractors own a tractor.
He further who stated that the agriculture sector contributed about 19 percent to the Gross Domestic Product noted that about 68 percent of persons undertaking agriculture activities do not apply fertilizer.
Ms Praise Nutakor, Communication Analyst, UNDP, noted that often times journalists found it difficult in understanding statistical data and communicating it well to the public and thereby putting out wrong information.
She noted that the programme was therefore to empower media practitioners to better appreciate the basic terminologies in statistical data and how they could effectively interpret them and churn out stories for the understanding of the public through most effective ways and within context.