‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ is tremendous success – Finance Minister

Ken Ofori-Atta – Finance Minister

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Attah says the government’s flagship programme, “Planting for Food and Jobs” has been a tremendous success.

Mr. Ofori-Attah who was on the floor of Parliament Wednesday, November 15, 2017, presenting the 2018 budget said the programme has recruited 2,160 university graduates and 1,070 to register and provide extension services to farmers across the country, adding that 201,000 farmers have been registered.

Mr. Ofori-Attah said 121,000 metric tons of subsidized fertilizers and 4,454.98 metric tons of subsidized seeds of cereal, legumes and vegetables have been distributed to beneficiary farmers.

He said the programme has also registered suppliers to distribute farm produce to public institutions including the school feeding programme, the Free Senior High School Programme, Prisons, Defence and Police, among others to ensure availability of quality food in a timely manner in these institutions.

The minister indicated that the National Buffer Stock Company was revitalized to procure, store and distribute the outputs from the “Planting for Food and Jobs” and other programmes of the Ministry of Agriculture, adding that The National Buffer Stock Company in collaboration with the Agricultural Development Bank registered 553 licensed buying companies.

Touching on the invasion of the Fall Army Worm (FAW) which recently became a source of worry for farmers, the minister said it was successfully managed through distribution of chemicals to farmers, recruitment of spraying gangs, and monitoring and surveillance.

According to him, the intervention recovered 123,232 hectares of farm lands out of 137,479 hectares affected.

“A strategic stock of insecticide and other logistics will be built to ensure ready availability of chemicals during outbreaks as well as intensification of monitoring and surveillance,” he assured.

In response to the achievements enumerated by the minister, the communications director of Food Sovereignty, Mr. Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffuor in an interview with ghanabusinessnews.com said it is a laudable initiative to make agriculture the mainstay of the economy but added that the programme should address the issue of sustainability.

“Since demand for organic produce has increased worldwide, Ghana should position herself to become an organic produce hub to increase revenue generation for farmers and the country,”  Mr. Baffour said.

He said a research titled International Assessment for Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) done by four scientists and commissioned by the World Bank and United Nations recommended a return to agroecology.

Mr. Baffour indicated that chemical agriculture is unsustainable because it affects biodiversity. He questioned the sustainability of “Planting for Food and Jobs” since government plans to go into commercial production of genetically modified foods in 2018.

The “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme was launched in April at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region by President Nana Addo Dankwah-Akufo Addo.

By Solomon Otu Mensah

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