From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani
The Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Agriculture, Dr Cyril T. Quist, has said that a total of 14,065 farmers have registered under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs programme in the region, saying a total of 60,514 have been targeted to benefit from the programme in 2018.
According to the Regional Director, about 9,376 maize farmers have, so far, registered with the programme since its inception in 2017.
Dr Quist told Sunyani-based Space FM that 148 onion farmers, 784 pepper farmers, 1,994 tomato farmers and 1,762 rice farmers have also registered.
Dr Quist said: “In 2017, more than 28,278 bags of maize seeds were supplied to maize farmers, 18,044 bags to rice farmers, 50 bags of soya beans, 4,051 sachets of tomatoes, 2,543 sachets of onion and 1,988 sachets of pepper.”
Stressing that the programme is on course, Dr Quist said the government supplied the region with 212,188 NPK fertiliser, 42,729 Urea fertiliser and 84,194 SoA fertilisers.
According to him, the region distributed NPK – 79,357, Urea – 20,399, and SoA – 27,441 fertilisers to the farmers at subsidised prices.
Dr Quist said the Regional Agriculture Directorate also distributed 20,528 bags of fertilizer to the maize farmers out of the 23,376 bags received from the government, and 5,878 to rice farmers out of the 18,044 bags.
He emphasised that the programme would make agricultural production more competitive, and so, called on the government to increase investment in the sector, and develop relevant linkages to increase the national food production average, and also create sustainable jobs.
He advised the youth to develop the interest and engage in commercial farming activities.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme at Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo Region, in April 2017.
According to him, the programme is to, among other things, encourage the youth to desist from migrating elsewhere in search of non-existent jobs.
He said the programme would go a long way in transforming the country’s agriculture sector.
“The Planting for Food and Jobs programme is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent; rice by 49 per cent; soybean by 25 per cent; and sorghum by 28 per cent from current production levels. This programme will create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment,” the President said at the launch.
Assuring the gathering that day that all the necessary measures had been put in place to guarantee the success of the programme, President Akufo-Addo further indicated that the government has reduced the prices of fertiliser by 50% to ensure the success of the programme.
“A 50kg bag of NPK fertiliser, the fertiliser mostly used by farmers, up to now, has been costing GH¢115. Under this government, farmers will only pay GH¢57.50 for it. Likewise, a 50kg bag of urea now sells at GH¢47.50, as opposed to GH¢80 last year,” he said.
The President also noted that the government would engage graduates from the various colleges of Agriculture to ensure the success of the programme.
He assured further that “in 2018, we will employ 2,000 more extension officers, with the solemn pledge of employing more graduates from our Colleges of Agriculture in the subsequent years.
“To reinforce the pledge made by the Minister, the government intends to construct a 1,000 metric tonne capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts. The purpose of these warehouses would be to handle produce, as well as to store the anticipated surpluses under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign,” he said in conclusion.