President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched Phase II of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme at the University for Development Studies in Tamale.
The programme, which is targeted at building on the successes of the initial programme, is a five-year plan for the transformation of Ghana’s agriculture with a focus on modernisation through the development of a selected commodity value chain with active private sector participation.
Speaking at the launch, President Akufo-Addo said the second phase, by design, “takes a holistic view and places greater emphasis on value chain approaches by focusing on strengthening linkages between actors along eleven selected agricultural commodity value chains broadly categorised into grains, roots and tuber, vegetables and poultry.”
Phase II of the Programme, the President added, also seeks to improve service delivery to maximise impact and substitutes direct input subsidy with smart agricultural financial support in the form of comprehensive input credit, with provision for in-kind payment.
He explained that key elements of the new phase would also include an input credit system that would provide farmers with access to inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and pesticides and other support services to improve productivity, as well as, storage infrastructure and distribution of produce to reduce post-harvest losses.
Moreover, the programme includes off-taker arrangements/commodity trading to improve farmer access to markets which guarantees fair prices for crops and a digitised platform for management, monitoring and coordination to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme.
The impact of the programme is expected to be in the area of job creation, with some 1.2 million farmers to be enrolled in the first year.
“In the next four years, the programme is destined to record an annual average of 210,000 new farm-related jobs. This will exclude other jobs along the agricultural value chains estimated at an annual average of four hundred and twenty thousand over the same period,” President Akufo-Addo said.
On Wednesday, 19th April 2017, President Akufo-Addo launched the maiden “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme at Goaso in the Ahafo region as part of the government’s key initiative to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security and profitability for our farmers.
It targeted a significant increase in agricultural productivity and pursued a value-addition strategy, aimed at rapidly ramping up agro-processing and developing new and stable markets.
The successful implementation of the first phase, according to the President, has resulted in reaching over 2.7 million farmers and other value chain actors under the five modules.
It has also achieved a relatively stable food security environment with food self-sufficiency in major food staples such as maize, cassava and yam and an increased agricultural sector growth rate from 2.7% in 2016 to an average of 6.3% from 2017 to 2021.
As a result, President Akufo-Addo said the government has been able to achieve the annual target of 6% of sector growth, set under the Malabo Declaration to which Ghana is a signatory, increased fertilizer application rate from 8 kg/ha in 2016 to 25 kg/ha in 2022.
Also, there has been an increase in the distribution of certified seeds from 2,000 metric tons in 2016 to 36,000 metric tons in 2022 and an increased private sector investment in the seed industry.
The President disclosed that “A recent Summit, organised by the United Nations on the need to build country food systems in September 2021 in New York and at the AU Dakar II Summit in January 2022, underscored the need to review the strategies for delivering solutions to challenges in the agricultural sector.”
As such “it is praise-worthy that Ghana has responded to the call to action at both Summits by rolling out the Second Phase of the PFJ Programme.”
“I continue to give you my pledge that farmers, food crop farmers, fish farmers and livestock farmers will all have the support and respect they deserve from my government. We need to raise agriculture to a higher plane to be able to improve the quality of life for our people,” he assured.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD