The Member of Parliament for the Keta constituency, Richard Quarshigah, has joined calls to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to provide evidence of the 745,000 jobs created in the first phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
“If you have created [745,000] jobs, you must have some tangibilities to that effect. You are not giving us any figures. You are not telling us the number of jobs that were created within the various sectors within the value chain,” the NDC MP told Citi News.Mr. Quarshigah also questioned the substance of the jobs created, saying “if you are talking about people who were farm hands and all that, are these sustainable jobs?”
His comments followed the Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Afriyie Akoto’s announcement last week that 745,000 jobs had been created under the first phase of the programme with the caveat that the jobs were “unofficial jobs.”
The Minister explained to the media that the jobs were created in rural areas, and were essentially not taxable, and did not contribute to pension funds following the earlier skepticism that met the announced figure.
The figures were based on the number of additional inputs as well as improved seeds and fertilizers supplied to participating farmers in 2017.
Beyond Mr. Quarshigah’s concerns, the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU), also opined that government’s estimate of 745,000 jobs provided under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme might be exaggerated.
The Union’s General Secretary, Edward Kareweh, contended that the figure provided by the government would have to be scrutinized.
Lack of understanding
Despite the contentions with the figures from government, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, said those doubting the number of jobs created by the programme needed to acquaint themselves with the situation on the ground.
According to him, the skeptics “have not been able to take time to appreciate the process involved in agricultural production.”
“In the course of agricultural production, we have input delivery, and in the course of the input delivery, a lot of stakeholders are involved and all these create jobs. For instance, if you are going to procure seeds and fertilizer, you are creating jobs for people who will haul the seeds and fertilizer. If you are going to haul the seeds and fertilizer, you are creating jobs for transport owners and haulers,” he explained.
By: Naa Shika Casesar & Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana