The National Service Scheme (NSS) is targeting a new policy which will soon be implemented to breath more life into its youth in agriculture programme, the Deputy Director of the scheme in charge of Operations, Mr Henry Nana Boakye, has hinted.
The new policy, dubbed: “One-District, One-Farm”, according to Nana Boakye, popularly known as ‘Nana Bee’, will enable the NSS to be treated as a strategic partner by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
The NSS farming policy is in sync with the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs Policy which was launched by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region recently.
At a mini-congress of the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) held in Kumasi on the theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs – the Role of Service Personnel”, the deputy director said the NSS had been into farming over the years and it was necessary for it to maintain its farms and even expand them.
Nana Boakye said in the 2016/2017 Service Year, the NSS deployed 2,000 national service persons into agriculture to augment activities on its farms and that the scheme sought to increase the number in the 2017/2018 Service Year to improve such agricultural activities.
He said though the scheme sought to deploy more than 100,000 service persons in the 2017/2018 Service Year, a considerable number would be posted to farming areas of the scheme which were increasing yields in maize, soghum, soya beans, rice, etc.
Food security, jobs
The deputy director said the ‘one-district, one-farm’ would begin from ‘one-region, one-farm’ policy to support food security of the country and increase jobs, thereby helping to solve graduate unemployment as well.
He hinted that under the programme, farmers registered by MoFA would directly supply the government with food through the ministries and other state institutions.
He said the government would be at ease to get food supply from farmers registered on the programme to augment the National School Feeding Programme.
For that reason, he said, the NSS was working closely with MoFA to benefit from about 3,000 tonnes of fertiliser to fight the notorious food parasite, army worm.
However, the Ashanti Regional Director of the NSS, Mrs Jennifer Appiah Bempah, hinted that about 50 acres of the NSS’s 600-acre maize farm had been affected by army worm.
She said the regional office was intensifying steps with support from the national headquarters to beef up plans to increase yield.
She expressed optimism that the scheme would be able to harvest more than 9,000 bags of maize by the end of the harvest season.
The National President of NASPA, Philip Quaye, commended authorities of the NSS for the laudable farming programme which inculcated self-employment in national service personnel.
He called on all service persons to make good use of the opportunity and endeavour to become entrepreneurs so as to do away with graduate unemployment.