Following the scepticism that met reports that 745,000 jobs had been created under the Planting for Food and Jobs, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Akoto Afriyie, has explained that these jobs were largely informal in nature.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, Dr. Afriyie Akoto described these jobs as “unofficial jobs” saying they were not subject to taxation, among other things.The Planting for Food and Jobs programme was rolled out in all 216 districts across the country and involves the supply of farm resources such seedlings to participating farmers.
The programme was envisioned to absorb unemployed youth in rural areas, with the government initially targetting the creation of 750,000 jobs in its first phase.
But the Minister noted that there were limits to the extent the government could actually measure the employment gains.
The figures were based on the number of additional inputs as well as improved seeds and fertilizers supplied to participating farmers in 2017.
“… the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign has absorbed this [rural] labour to the extent that we targeted 750,000 rural labour and we were able to generate 745,000 thousand jobs and these jobs are unofficial jobs. They are not pensionable, they are not tax deductible so you cannot actually measure it like those in the formal sector where you re-registered, you are paid a wage, you have to pay tax and so on and therefore, it is very easy to monitor.”
Dr. Afriyie Akoto explained further that “it is the amount of work which is developed in the area which can only absorb this rural labour, therefore, you cannot have direct primary sources of actually counting the numbers but the way the cultivation is done, the amount of inputs that are distributed and that are supplied by farmers, you can come to a very accurate calculation about what it is that you have generated and how many men and women have been absorbed by your efforts.”
On the formal side, the government, in its budget statement from 2018, indicated that over 3,000 were employed comprising 2,160 university graduates and 1,070 youth to register and provide extension services to farmers across the country.
Other milestones under Planting for Food & Jobs
- The Distribution of about 80,000 bags of cereal and legume seeds, 36,000 sachets of vegetable seeds and about 2,000,000 bags of fertilizer
- Recruitment of 822 agricultural extension personnel
- Establishment of a task-force to assess status of warehouses and storage facilities nationwide for rehabilitation
- Creation of market opportunities for farmers by linking them with institutional buyers such as School Feeding Programme and Prisons Service.
- Electronic registration of over 34, 000 farmers out of more than 200,000 manually registered
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana