Government urged to incorporate PFJ into policies

By
Albert Futukpor, GNA

Tamale, Aug 23, GNA
– The government has been urged to incorporate the Planting for Food and Jobs
Programme (PFJ) into national agricultural policies such as the Food and
Agricultural Sector Development Programme (FASDEP) to ensure that the PFJ is
not scrapped by any government.

This formed part of
recommendations of a research conducted into the PFJ to gather concrete
evidence on farmers experience with the programme and how to facilitate its
effective implementation for the benefit of all.

The research was
conducted at Saboba, Karaga, Kumbungu, and Mion Districts and Savelugu
Municipality in August, 2018, by the Community Life Improvement Programme
(CLIP) as part of the Empowerment for Life Programme being implemented by the
Ghana Developing Communities Association, Youth Empowerment for Life and Ghana
Friends in Denmark.

The findings of the
research were presented by Mr Abdallah Mohammed, Technical Advisor, Food
Security, Livelihood and Business Development at CLIP at a dissemination
workshop in Tamale on Thursday attended by farmers, input dealers, agricultural
extension agents (AEAs) and district directors of agricultural drawn from the
districts where the research was conducted.

The research showed
that despite some challenges such as access to fertilizer, use of improved
seeds, low number of AEAs, and poor access to finance, the PFJ had contributed
to increased agricultural productivity since its inception, hence need to
incorporate it into national agricultural policies for successive governments
to undertake it.

It recommended
proper planning by involving all relevant stakeholders in the agricultural
sector, and management mechanism be put in place to ensure the effective
implementation of the PFJ to ensure increased productivity.

It said majority of
the farmers were ignorant of the efficacy of improved seeds, calling for more
education and sensitization to ensure that they realised the importance of
improved seeds in agricultural production such that they would plant them.

It called on
government to furnish the District Departments of Agriculture with the
requisite logistics to aid the effective implementation of the PFJ.

It recommended that
more personnel should be recruited to augment the AEAs in the implementation
process to allow the AEAs enough time to fulfill their mandated responsibility
of providing extension services to farmers.

It said “It is
needful for the government to roll out policies that will incentivise private
banks to give credit to farmers at low interest rates. The ‘Ghana Incentive
Based Risk Sharing System of Agriculture Lending (GIRSAL)’ a value chain
financing model aimed at relieving the sector’s encumbrance of accessing credit
is a commendable step that needs to be sustained and implemented effectively”.

It called for
“Incorporating significant agritech in the campaign to improve the entire value
chain: from seed tracking, land preparation, irrigation, harvesting, storage
and packaging can improve production”.

It also recommended
the need for “Seed growers in Ghana to be capacitated to enable them meet the
demand of the programme. Also imported seeds should be authenticated before
delivery to beneficiaries”.

GNA

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