Business News of Wednesday, 22 February 2017
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government’s flagship agriculture policy, “Planting for Food and Jobs” will begin with a cost GHc 560 million.
This is according to the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who said 200,000 farmers have already been recruited for the exercise which is expected to take off in March 2017, ahead of the new farming season.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto announced this policy at the annual New Year School and Conference of the University of Ghana earlier in 2017 and speaking to Citi News, he said a lot more farmers will be roped into the programme as it develops. GHc 1.3 bn to be generated for farmers He said the policy was “going to generate GHc 1.3 billion for the participating farmers and also create 750,000 jobs and this is involving maize, rice, soya, sorghum and vegetable [cultivation] for the first year.” “In 2018, we are going to expand this.
Don’t forget we have five million farmers and fishermen in this country. We have started with 200,000 as a pilot and in 2018, we are going to expand this program considerably to involve nearly a million farmers.” Dr. Afriyie Akoto has said the “Planting for Food and Jobs” campaign is designed to encourage citizens, both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full time and part time activity.
It has been structured along the lines of the “Operation Feed Yourself” programme from the 1970s. The Operation Feed Yourself campaign was launched in 1972 to make Ghana self-sufficient in food supply though it encountered significant shortcomings. But the government, however, believes the objectives of the Operation Feed Yourself campaign will be revived through the new campaign.
Though the “Planting for Food and Jobs” pilot only involves the cultivation of rice, soya beans, sorghum and vegetables, other crops will be adopted in subsequent years.