Business News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
The Planting for Food and Jobs initiative (PFAJ), which is one of the government’s flagship programmes, has received tremendous support from farmers, as 188,338 farmers have so far registered to be involved.
This is just 11,662 short of the government’s target of registering about 200,000 farmers nationwide for the 2017 cropping season.
Out of the 188,338 farmers that have been registered, the Upper West Region recorded the highest number of registered farmers as 36,188 farmers registered, followed by the Upper East and Northern regions whereby 26,415 and 25,417 farmers registered respectively.
The Brong Ahafo Region also recorded 20,638 farmers, with 20,459 farmers also registering in the Ashanti Region.
The Central, Volta and Eastern regions also recorded 17,134, 14,726, and 12,777 respectively.
The Greater Accra region recorded the least number of registered farmers as only 1,637 farmers registered for the programme, whiles 10,516 farmers also registered in the Western Region.
This was revealed by the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, when he appeared before Parliament to answer questions on the programmes.
He said out of the 188,338 registered farmers, 34,000 had been captured electronically by ESOKO.
Status of implementation
Touching on the status of the programme, he said the distribution of inputs to districts in the southern sector for the major crop season has been completed.
He said the distribution of inputs to the northern sector was also nearly completed, whiles distribution to the southern sector for the minor crop season had just begun.
He disclosed that the ministry had so far distributed 1,265 tons of maize seedlings, 1,372 tons of rice seedlings, 188 tons of soya bean seeds, and 171 tons of sorghum seeds.
He said it had also distributed 11,115 grammes of onion seeds, 10,998 grammes of pepper seeds, and 11,836 grams of tomato seeds.
“We have also distributed 1,201,338 bags of fertilizer,” he stated.
The minister also pointed out that it had already spent GH¢157 million on the campaign for the major season in the southern sector and the three northern regions.
He said inputs distribution for the minor season in the southern sector was still ongoing and that the ministry was therefore yet to receive the cost for the minor crop season.
Giving a breakdown of the expenditure, he said GH¢24.96 million was spent on the seeds whiles GH¢ 132.05 million was spent on the fertilizers.
Dr Akoto mentioned inadequate domestic supply of seeds, unavailable 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 army worms.
Besides, he said, procurement of tools and vehicles was in progress through the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Project.
About Planting for Food and Jobs
The Planting for Food and Jobs is expected to be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country, and will involve the supply of farm resources such as high yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.The government has said
The government has said that, it intends to revolutionise agriculture in the country by introducing the programme which is expected to create more than 750,000 jobs.
The programme, according to the government, would also motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans. Interested farmers are to be provided with free seedlings among other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices.
The programme was launched by President Akufo-Addo on April 19, 2017.