From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi.
The Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, a wholly Government of Ghana project, is said to be one of two flagship programmes that would keep the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from coming to power. The Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the project, which seeks to change the face of agriculture, is the biggest that can ban the NDC from coming to power. He explained that the programme is working successfully for Ghanaians, as farmers are now earning thrice their previous incomes before the programme was introduced. The Minister, who was interacting with the media in Kumasi recently, mentioned the free Senior High School as the other flagship programme of the government that has caught up with the people, and is bound to succeed, in spite of the antagonism facing them (programmes).
Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project, which is focusing on 10% of farmers, intends to change the lives of millions of farm families in the country. According to the Minister, 500,000 farmers have so far benefitted from the project, as it is moving from the pilot scheme to the mainstream project, having engaged 200,000 farmers initially in 2017.He announced that about 1.5 million farmers are expected to further benefit from the project subsequently. Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the Ashanti Region, which is the biggest beneficiary, is targeting 80,000 farmers this year, having registered 23,000 last year. As a demonstration of the government’s commitment to create jobs, the Minister said the cultivation of cassava and groundnuts have been added to rice and maize cultivation under the project. He said the Agric Ministry is also registering all soya farmers in the Northern Region, in order to help them with machinery for primary processing. The Minister also announced that free soya seeds would be supplied to farmers to boost the industry.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture spent an amount of GH¢157,023,174 on the government flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, revealed at the floor of Parliament recently.
The amount, he said, was spent on the campaign for the major season in the Southern Sector and the three northern regions.
According to him, out of the amount, GH¢24,963,981 was spent on seeds, whilst GH¢132,059,193 was spent on fertiliser and haulage.