President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said agriculture sector had received unprecedented support from government through massive investment aimed at modernising the sector.


Addressing the 34th National Farmers Day in Tamale on Friday 7th December, 2018, President Akufo-Addo said his government has no doubt about the importance of agriculture, as one of the change drivers for accelerating economic growth.


“It is also important to put on record that Ghana’s agriculture was in a state of decline when I became President of the Republic. Prior to 2017, the performance of the sector had been erratic, recording a growth rate of 0.8% in 2011, one of the lowest in modern times,” he said.


This growth pattern, the President explained, epitomized the lack of prioritization and support for the sector by the previous government, which was associated with low farm yields, high post-harvest losses, low level of mechanization, poorly motivated and low numbers of extension officers, largely unavailable marketing infrastructure, weak linkages to other sectors, as well as general lack of access to agricultural financing.


Having identified the major causes of the unimpressive performance of the agricultural sector, government launched the Programme for “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ), in April 2017, to signal government’s determination to reverse the flagging fortunes of the agricultural sector.


Consequently, the focus of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, is to improve the yields of farmers, guarantee access to markets, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance the availability of extension services.


"Nearly two years into its implementation, I can confidently report that very positive results have been achieved.


In particular, the distribution of farm inputs to farmers, a major component of the programme, has worked very well. The provision of improved seeds and subsidized fertilizer has largely accounted for high farm yields and impressive growth of the agriculture sector of 8.4% at the end of 2017, the first pilot year of the PFJ," President Akufo-Addo stated.


He said, 577,000 farmers had signed onto the programme in 2018, adding that, the projections for the year looked much better with higher anticipated levels of success, given the intervention and expansion made in the programme.


Government interventions


Towards ensuring self-sufficiency in food production, government has undertaken a number of measures, including advanced arrangement to import farm machinery worth two hundred and sixteen million dollars ($216 million) in 2019, and construct eighty (80) new warehouses across the country, each with a capacity of one thousand (1,000) metric tonnes.


Additionally, the construction and rehabilitation of various dams and dugouts to increase crop production and ensure all year-round farming has begun, with significant improvement to markets, and the licensing of over a thousand (1,000) Buying Companies by the National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO).


This, according to President Akufo-Addo, has forfeited government’s share of the FOB price as part of efforts to protect cocoa farmers from world market shocks.


Government again introduced, in this year, the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) as a module under the PFJ, and will, in 2019, introduce the Rearing for Food and Jobs, as another module of PFJ.


President Akufo-Addo said that 2,700 Agriculture Extension officers, had been recruited, 8,000 graduates recruited for the Feed Ghana module of the NABCO programme, and distributed 216 pickup vehicles and 3,000 motorbikes to extension officers and District Directors of Agriculture respectively.


With Government's quest to implement “Aquaculture for Food and Jobs” (AFJ) programme to complement the "Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) initiative, the three public hatcheries at Ashaiman, Kona Odumase and Vea had been rehabilitated to increase fingerlings production to meet the demand of fish farmers in the country.


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)

Created: 10 December 2018
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