President Akufo-Addo launches Phase II of Planting for Food and Jobs programme

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At the University for Development Studies in Tamale on August 28, 2023, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo officially launched Phase Two of the government’s flagship agricultural program, “Planting for Food and Jobs.”

The second phase of the program is a five-year master plan for the transformation of agriculture in Ghana with a focus on modernization through the development of a chosen commodity value chain and active private sector engagement. Its goal is to build on the successes of the previous program.

Speaking at the launch, President Akufo-Addo stated that 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.”

He continued by saying that Phase Two of the Program also aims to enhance service delivery in order to maximize impact and replaces direct input subsidies with smart agricultural financial support in the form of comprehensive input credit, with the option for in-kind payment.

The President also revealed that important components of the new phase include an input credit system that gives farmers access to inputs like seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides as well as other support services to improve productivity and yield, as well as a storage infrastructure and logistic hub to improve produce storage and distribution and lower post-harvest losses.

It also incorporates commodity trading and off-taker agreements to increase farmers’ access to markets and ensure fair prices for crops, as well as a digital platform for management, monitoring, and coordination to increase the program’s efficiency and efficacy.

“The impact of the Programme is expected to be in the area of job creation, with some one-point-two million (1.2 million) farmers to be enrolled in the first year. In the next four (4) years, the Programme is destined to record an annual average of two hundred and ten thousand (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.

It will be recalled that President Akufo-Addo officially launched the “Planting for Food and Jobs” program on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at Goaso in the Ahafo region. The program is the government’s main effort to modernize agriculture, increase production efficiency, achieve food security, and increase profitability for our farmers. In short, it adopted a value-adding approach with the goal of quickly ramping up agro-processing and creating new, reliable markets. Its target was a considerable improvement in agricultural productivity.

The President noted that due to the first phase’s successful implementation, more than 2.7 million farmers and other value chain participants have been reached through the five modules, there is a generally stable environment for food security with food self-sufficiency in key food staples like maize, cassava, and yam, and the agricultural sector’s growth rate has increased from 2.7% in 2016 to an average of 6.3% from 2017 to 2021.

He continued that, as a result of this, “Government has, thus, been able to achieve the annual target of six percent (6%) of sector growth, set under the Malabo Declaration to which Ghana is a signatory, increased fertilizer application rate from eight kilogrammes per hectare (8 kg/ha) in 2016 to twenty-five kilogrammes per hectare (25 kg/ha) in 2022, an increased distribution of certified seeds from two thousand metric tons (2,000 MT) in 2016 to thirty-six thousand metric tons (36,000 MT) in 2022 and an increased private sector investment in the seed industry.”

The President was happy to disclose 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 for the review of 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 on the quality of life for our people,” he assured”.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com

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