General News of Friday, 28 July 2017
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has assured the country that the army worm invasion has not affected the Planting for Food and Jobs programme initiated to boost food production and create jobs.
He told Parliament yesterday that “the impression that the invasion is threatening the programme is not correct. It is not true”.
Dr Akoto was answering a question posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo North, Mr Eric Opoku, on the expenditure, participation and status of the programme.
There were other follow-up questions, which included the effect of the army worm invasion.
Dr Akoto said in total, 120,812 hectares of farms were affected by army worms.
He said only 14,000 hectares were destroyed.
He said it was the expectation of the government to achieve zero effect of army worm destruction next year.
Planting for Food and Jobs Programme
Dr Akoto said the distribution of inputs to all districts in the southern sector for the major crop season was completed, while that of the northern sector was near completion.
He said for the 2017 cropping season, the programme had targeted to register about 200,000 farmers nationwide.
He said, so far, 188,338 farmers had registered, and 34,000 of them had been captured electronically.
Dr Akoto said the ministry had spent GH¢157,023,174 on the campaign for the major season in the southern sector and the three regions in the north.
He said distribution of inputs for the minor cropping season in the southern sector was ongoing.
Dr Akoto mentioned inadequate domestic supply of seeds, unavailability of farmer database, inadequate extension officers, inadequate vehicles and motorbikes and fall army worm invasion as some of the challenges.
He said the government had taken immediate actions, including the deployment of chemicals and resources, to deal with the fall army worms.
Besides, he said, procurement of tools and vehicles was in progress through the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Project.