President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is upbeat about the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which he says will progressively transform Ghana’s agricultural landscape.
Designed as a commercially viable venture from production to processing, distribution and marketing, President Akufo-Addo believes the comprehensive programme will stimulate economic activities within the agricultural sector.
He also believes the programme would generate employment, support industrialisation, boost exports, increase incomes, foster rural development and propel overall economic growth.
President Akufo-Addo said this at a meeting of international development partners, on the second phase of the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, at Alisa Hotel, Accra, on Thursday.
On Monday, 28th August, in Tamale in the Northern Region, President Akufo-Addo, launched the second phase of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs.
The programme is a five-year strategic initiative, designed to accelerate the growth of the agriculture sector, in response to the exacerbated challenges it has faced, primarily due to the combined impact of recent adversities like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The programme is in anticipation of enhancing food security and establishing a strong comparative advantage in the production of diverse cash and food crops and poultry products by the end of the five-year implementation period.
President Akufo-Addo said the new “comprehensive approach will stimulate economic activities within the sector, generate employment, support industrialisation, boost exports, increase incomes, foster rural development, and propel overall economic growth.”
It would as well, he noted “leverage competitively the opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”
He, however, said despite the productive collaboration between the government and the country’s development partners over the years, concerns had been raised about the misalignment of priorities between the policies of some international development agencies and national policies and strategies.
“The government is concerned by this, because projects designed by foreign governments to support Ghana’s agriculture should, naturally, align with the government’s priorities.
“Any deviation from this can amount to misdirected investments in the country. This platform, thus, provides an opportunity for all of us to identify the factors causing this disconnect, and take corrective measures,” he opined.
Though the President acknowledged the multifaceted challenges facing Ghana’s agriculture, especially the availability of funding resources, he was amused about situations where agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, had no foreknowledge of some funds being employed in the country by international development agencies.
President Akufo-Addo advocated for dialogues to achieve optimal results for effective alignment and minimise the risk of duplication and eliminate the lack of knowledge by the government of projects by international development agencies, for a coherent approach that promotes collaboration.
“Dialogues like the one we are having today, are essential and should be a regular occurrence, providing avenues to discuss challenges and successes, and ensure increased collaboration in the execution of current and future agricultural development plans in Ghana.”
The President also stressed on the urgency of complementing the government’s efforts through resource mobilisation and funding mechanisms, such as loans, grants, technical assistance and others by collaborating with research institutions, farmer organisations, and the private sector to ensure increased capacity building, technology transfer and knowledge sharing.
He also touched on monitoring and evaluation towards “ensuring the accuracy of data collection and analysis, thereby helping to address identified weaknesses that affect design, planning, implementation and project outcomes as well as ensure accountability and facilitate evidence-based decision-making.”
Whilst acknowledging the government’s responsibility to create a conducive environment through regulatory measures and other incentives, he was confident that, the second phase of the programme “will raise awareness about the potential of Ghana’s agriculture, and draw in the necessary investments, facilitated by your invaluable support, so that we can achieve food security in Ghana.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD