A Deputy Minister of Agric in charge of crops, Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has disputed claims that the flagship agric policy, planting for food and jobs did not see significant dividend.
He told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5fm that, the policy was introduced to increase farm productivity and create jobs.
In terms of production he said, previously we had 32,000 metric tons of food stored at the buffer stock. However, under the planting for food and jobs, the 32,000 tons facility has been filled to capacity and aside that, we have kept over 92,000 metric tons of food at COCOBOD storage facility.
In terms of maize and rice production, we projected to increase them by 30 and 20 percent respectively but we have doubled it.
He was reacting to claims by former MP for La-Dadekotopon constituency, Nii Amasah Namoale, that the policy did yield any significant dividend.
He has therefore challenged the former MP to make enquiries at the buffer stock to compare the figures.
The Deputy Minister said it was estimated that, 200,000 farmers would have registered under the policy but we have more than anticipated.
He said out of the number, 10,000 graduates registered and have been supported to go into farming with over 12,000 hectares of farmlands.
He added, in terms of food security, we will not lack and also reduce the level of importation of basic staples into the country.
‘’In total, we have exceeded our target a little in terms of job creation. We have doubled our production and I can confidently say, the policy has been successful,’’ Mr. Nyarko said.
On the issue of the fall army worms, he stressed that the situation was brought under control.
Over 1,300 license buyers have been registered nationwide under the project to buy directly from farmers under the planting for food and jobs.
‘’We have the already market for farmers. This shows that government has putting in place strong policies to help small holder farmers under the project,’’ he said.
Direct and indirect jobs under the project stood at 740,000, she said.
The Planting for Food and Job Campaign is a policy introduced by the NPP Government to help address the declining growth of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
It is a five year long policy which is geared towards increasing food productivity and ensure food security for the country as well as reduce food import bills to the barest minimum.
It is also an avenue to modernize agriculture and make it a source of employment for the teeming youths.
The policy is built on five major pillars namely: Supply of Improved Seeds to farmers at subsidized prices (50% subsidy); Supply of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices (50% price cut); Free extension services to farmers (1200 extension officers from the five main agric colleges already enrolled onto the program. Additional 4,000 extension assistants to be mobilized); Marketing opportunities for produce after harvest, (arrangements have been made to offer ready markets for farmers who will be participating in the campaign) and E-Agriculture (a technological platform to monitor and track activities and progress of farmers through a database system).