‘Planting For Food Project’ Targets GH¢1.3bn

Dr Afriyie with members of the committee

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, says government intends to generate a total of GH¢1.3 billion in its flagship agricultural project dubbed, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs.’

Dr Afriyie disclosed this Wednesday in Accra when he inaugurated a National Organizing Committee for the official launch of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project scheduled for April 19, 2016 in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The eight-member committee is to be chaired by Deputy Minister-designate of Information, Perry Curtis Okudzeto.

The Agric Minister is also expected to inaugurate a local organizing committee in Brong Ahafo Region.

He said government would invest a total of about GH¢560 million into the project, adding that half of the amount would be used to purchase fertilizers.

He indicated that by 2020, government would cover half of the country’s farmer population.

Five main crops would be cultivated under the project namely rice, maize, sorghum, soya beans and vegetables based on five key pillars which include provision of certified seeds, fertilizer, extension service, marketing and e-Agriculture.

Through the initiative, Dr Afriyie said, rice production would increase from 635,000 metric tonnes to 665,000 metric tonnes, representing 40 percent increment.

Maize production would also increase from 1.7 million metric tonnes to 2.3 million metric tonnes, representing a target of 30 percent increment; while soya beans production is expected to increase in the same year by 20 percent from its current level of 20,000 metric tonnes to 22,000 metric tonnes

Sorghum production, which is currently low due to some challenges, is also expected to go up by 20 percent, the minister said.

The project has been designed to expand every year as more industrial crops would be added in the coming years.

He said the four-year programme shall help improve food production and reduce the country’s over reliance on imported food items.

Technical Adviser to the Minister, Emmanuel Asante Krobea, said the programme would be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country.

He urged interested farmers to register with their offices, adding that students from agricultural colleges across the country would serve as extension officers.

Mr. Korbea said currently there are about 1,200 extension officers to support the farmers.

BY Melvin Tarlue