Monday, 18 December 2017
Planting for Food & Jobs: bumper harvest in the offing

Planting for Food & Jobs: bumper harvest in the offing

By Isaac Aidoo
A bumper harvest is expected this year for maize, rice, soyabean, sorghum, tomato, onion and pepper, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has indicated.

The high expectation is according to the Minister due to the impact of government’s flagship agricultural initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs launched early this year.
The sector Minister at an agribusiness forum in Accra disclosed that “the harvest for the main crop is ongoing and we are feverishly preparing for a good harvest.”
The forum which was under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) support programme for farmers dubbed USAID-Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP) was on the theme ‘Agro-Investment: Driving Development and Opportunity along the Agricultural Value Chain.”
Thanks to the programme, over 2,000 agribusinesses in the maize, rice and soy value chains in northern Ghana have in the last four years received more than $135 million in private capital support.
Over $500,000 in financing was pooled for seed producers and processors in that region.

 

While admitting that a lot of lessons were being learnt as the campaign is one, the Minister maintains that government will meet its target of reaching 200,000 farmers by the end of the year.
Poised to make the programme a big success, the Ministry had registered a total of 291 individuals, companies, cooperatives, groups and traders to receive the expected bumper harvest.
As at July this year, the Ministry had registered 185,000 farmers and spent GH¢157,023,174.00 on the programme in the southern sector and the three northern regions.
The campaign has five main areas of intervention which are the provision of improved seeds, provision of fertilizer, provision of extension services, marketing and e-agriculture platform.
Selected farmers are supported with farm inputs such as improved seeds of the targeted crops, fertilizers and extension services directly from the ministry, whilst other pillars are to be implemented with the private sector.
According to Dr Afriyie Akoto, the aim of government is to use the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme to transform the agricultural sector; and this would be done by increasing productivity of the farm resources centred on small holding activities, to provide job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth and to provide raw materials for the industrial sector.
Chief of Party for FinGAP, Mr Rick Dvorin, disclosed that "in all, the programme, which is in its final year, has benefitted more than 148,000 smallholder farmers in northern Ghana, 40 per cent of whom are women."

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