The Deputy Food and Agriculture Minister, George Oduro, has told Parliament that the National Buffer stock company has put in place measures to purchase harvested farm produce from farmers signed unto the Planting for food and jobs programme.
According to him, this will ensure that there is ready market in a bid to boost the viability of the programme.Responding to questions on the linkage between the programme and the market, George Oduro indicated that, the over 1000 aggregators had been registered to facilitate the purchase of farm produce under the programme.
“The Planting for Food and Jobs initiative which was launched in the Brong Ahafo Region in April 2017, has seen automatic pillars, improve seeds production and promotion, increase fertilizer usage and promotion for increased productivity, promoting and strengthening market linkage and improved extension service. The sustainability of this initiative is very much dependent on providing ready market for farmers under this programme. To motivate farmers to sign on to this initiative, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Food and Buffer stock company has put measures in place to purchase harvested farm produce under the PFP initiative. The Ministry has so far registered 1,033 aggregators and given them license through the National Buffer Stock company to purchase the produce from the local farmers under the planting for food and jobs for the 2017, 2018 crop season.”
The Planting for Food and Jobs programme is one of government’s flagship programes aimed at improving agricultural production in the country.
The programme is expected to be rolled out in all 216 districts of the country, and will involve the supply of farm resources such as high yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.
The farmers will also get agro chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices.
The government said the programme will create some 750,000 jobs, and would motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans.
Before the personnel were deployed to provide extension services on September 1 2017, the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana had cast doubt on their ability to do a good job, stating that the use of extension services as part of the programme would make the programme unsuccessful.
The Programme Officer for the Association, Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, in a Citi News interview said,“The approach of recruiting extension service personnel to help in the programme is wrong. 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.”
By: Duke Mensah Opoku/citifmonline.com/Ghana