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Working for gov’t frustrating – Former agric extension officer

A former agric extension officer, Joseph Bekoe, has disclosed that he makes more money working as a private person than working for government.

According to him, he gave up his role as an extension officer because it was frustrating.

He lamented on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday that, getting access to logistics from government was very difficult.

“If you evaluate the energy and the effort you put into government work and then compare it to you being on your own, you will realize that it is good to be on your own than working for government. When it comes to logistics, sometimes you operate from your pocket, you need fuel and other tools to visit farms, but it does not come, and at the end of the month, you have to send a report to your directorate on the work you’ve done. And then they expect you to write a report on your activity while they have not given you fuel for your motorbike. Sometimes it takes between six to seven months before you get logistics,” Mr. Bekoe explained.

When asked whether his superiors were aware of his predicaments, the former extension officer replied in the affirmative.

“They are very much aware of our problem,” he said, adding that “the extension officers’ inactivity is not because they do not like the job, but it is because logistics do not get to them on time.”

“If I am in a locality at Afienya and I am working as an extension officer and I do not have fuel or money for transportation, what do I do? I would walk to the areas that my legs could carry me and do my work there, while other areas that require my services are denied. So these are our challenges,” he added.

Mr. Bekoe, who now operates a poultry farm at Afienya, told Host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle, that he is doing very well in his private business.

“If I have about 1000 layers and they are laying every day, I make about 250 cedis each day, taking aside their feeding cost. Eggs are products that we don’t look for marketers; people come to you so far as you have the eggs,” he noted.

Mr. Bekoe also noted that, he could make about GHc5,000 within a month operating as a poultry farmer.

Planting for Food and Jobs launch

Mr. Bekoe’s revelation comes on the back of government’s plan to launch an an agric sector initiative dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs.”

The President, Nana Addo Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to launch the project today, Wednesday, at Goaso in the Asunafo municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region.

The project is expected to be rolled out in all 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and districts across the country, and will involve the supply of farm resources such as high yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.

Peasant farmers skeptical

Meanwhile, ahead of the launch, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana is skeptical about the project.

According to the Association, the mode of selection of beneficiaries for the project was wrong, and will eventually collapse the programme.

The Programme Officer for the Association, Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, in a Citi News interview said the current plan excludes over 70% of peasant farmers.

“The target beneficiaries in the first place are wrong. They are targeting the large-scale farmers, and not small scale farmers, but we all know that the farmer population in Ghana, we have over 80% being small-scale farmers.”

Mode of recruiting extension officers wrong

He also lamented that, the approach of recruiting service personnel as agric extension officers was not the best.

“If you go to the Ministry of Agriculture at the district level, you have the extension officers there who are not able to visit farming communities because of lack of logistics. You leave all these people hanging there and you say you are bringing National Service personnel to train them to go and train the farmers. At the end of the day, if you don’t take care, they would rather go and be learning from the farmers and that is not going to give us the impact that we are looking for,” he said.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana