PEASANT FARMERS CRITICIZE GOVERNMENT'S “PLANTING FOR FOOD AND JOBS” PROJECT
Published: 19 April 2017
Last Updated: 19 April 2017
19 Apr 2017
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) the umbrella body for over 80% of farmers in Ghana, has criticized government’s agricultural flagship programme, “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative over what they describe as avoidable lapses in the project.
According to the PFAG, imported seeds for the programme have delayed which is going to affect the planting season among other avoidable mistakes.
The criticism comes as the President, Nana Akufo-Addo is today expected to launch, “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, an initiative of his government in Goaso, in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The programme which is going to be piloted in the Brong-Ahafo Region when rolled out is to have some 200,000 farmers to benefit.
Government in its 2017 budget earmarked GH₵560 million for the initiative which is expected to create over 70,000 jobs.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, has already hinted that the programme will cover 2.5 million farmers nationwide after the pilot process.
But in an interview with the thebftonline.com, the Programmes Officer of PFAG, Charles Nyaaba, said the programmes must be looked at again, questioning government plans to engage National Service personnel instead of trained Extension officers to work on the project.
“There are people who completed agric training colleges and they placed embargo on recruitment, have they lifted the embargo? They are going to engage national services personnel and those service personnel are supposed to be trained by the agric officers for them to go and work. I have a serious problem with that.What will happen to the old extension officers, who are there and they have nothing to do because of lack of logistics.”
“They are not equipped, so let’s try to equip them first, and then we try to bring more onboard to fill in the gap. We think the approach is wrong and must be changed with regards to the extension officers needed for the programme implementation,” he added.
The implementation mechanisms for the “Planting for Food and Jobs” Initiative have already been rolled out in some parts of the country with farmers being educated on the best practices in agriculture.
Just last month, a technical committee for the implementation of the initiative was set up in the Volta Region as a total of 7,914 farmers made of 5,885 males and 1,797 females were registered in the region for the project.