Peasant farmers laud ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project but…

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has commended government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project but says the initiative needs some fine tuning.

The project is one of the government’s moves to create jobs and increase agriculture productivity by supporting farmers with seedlings and fertilizers.

Programmes Coordinator at PFAG, Charles Nyaba, says although the project will enable small-holder farmers to make more money for themselves to cater for their families and also contribute to the national economy, the project can be made even better.

“One difficulty of the project that we think the government would have to start looking at is that the project provides for only seed and fertilizer but in production, it is a whole package – we are looking at the land preparation for which cost of tractor services is very expensive. We are also looking at the labour which is also an area that is of concern to farmers. We are also looking at the packaging of the materials, we are looking at the harvesting, we are looking at storage because the post-harvest loss is an issue. So we would have expected that the support would go beyond only inputs to also address these challenges along the value chain,” said Mr Nyaba.

The project took off this month, and Mr Nyaba says peasant farmers are already making some gains.

He said the government and Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited have agreed to support sorghum farmers with improved seeds.

He also commended the project’s design to deal with farmer groups, which he says will ensure the effectiveness of the agriculture initiative.

Minister-Designate for Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, unveiled government’s National Campaign with the slogan “Planting for Food and Jobs”.

The campaign forms part of efforts to generate more wealth in the agricultural sector and to improve the livelihood of farmers and fisher folks, as well as help, grow the national economy.

“This campaign is designed to encourage all citizens to take up farming as a full or part-time activity,” Dr Akoto stated.

“It is intended to structure it along the lines of the erstwhile “Operation Feed Yourself” (OFY) programme of the 1970s,” he added.