Ghana produces 2.5 million tonnes of maize in 2014
In 2014, maize production in Ghana increases to 2.5 million metric tonnes, and a group is unhappy that arable land is being taken for buildings.
Alhaji Adam Mahama, National Coordinator of the Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP) has bemoaned the indiscriminate conversion of the nation’s arable lands into estates, which in the end would go a long way to affect the fortunes of agriculture.
He said unless something was done about the situation, the nation stands the chance of losing all its fertile lands to estates developers in the not too distant future.
He said agriculture is one of the major means through which the teeming youth unemployment problem in the country could be resolved.
Alhaji Mahama who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday said Ghana’s maize production before the inception of the programme in 2009, was 1.5 million metric tonnes in 2008, but has gradually increased over the period to over 2.5 million metric tonnes in 2014.
He said YIAP holds the key to the nation’s food security and socio-economic development; explaining that following the inception of programme, it could be observed that award winners of the nation’s best farmers had been mostly youth.
The National Coordinator said some other challenges facing the YIAP implementation were the lack of adequate funds to meet the demand of the teeming youth for assistance to enable them go into farming.
Alhaji Mahama also mentioned erratic rainfall patterns, and the lack of adequate irrigation schemes in most districts in the countryas some of the challenges.
According to the National Coordinator, the objective of YIAP is to make the youth accept farming as a commercial business venture and generate appreciable income to meet farmers’ needs.
He said of the four modules of the Programme: Crops / Block Farm, Livestock and Poultry, Fisheries/Aquaculture and Agribusiness; Aquaculture was the aspect that youth who were enthused to enter were finding it very difficult to, due to the high cost of feeds for the fingerlings.
He urged civil society organizations and development partners to support the youth in this direction.
Alhaji Mahama called on government and other development partners to establish a fertilizer plant in the country in order to make the products easily available and affordable for the farmers.
He commended development partners such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for their technical collaboration with YIAP in the area of aquaculture.
Alhaji Mahama said this year, government had voted GH¢10 million to scale up the programme to ensure food security.
The amount, he said, would be channeled through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to assist youths in their jurisdictions as well as encourage them to take up agriculture to increase food production throughout the country.