A member of the NPP USA Communication team Mr Majeed Nasir has lauded the NPP flagship program Planting for Food and Jobs launched by His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo in April 2017 at Goaso, the capital of the new Ahafo Region. speaking on the maiden talk show "LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD SERIES" hosted by NPP USA on Amenado radio a Denver, Colorado based radio station.
Mr Majeed Nasir recounted the Rawlings government which initiated the first phase of the economic recovering program (ERP) in 1984, agriculture at that time was identified as the economic sector that could rescue Ghana from a financial ruin and mainly focused on exporting. He said several efforts have been done to revive the agricultural sector which provides both direct and indirect jobs for millions of Ghanaians. It is in this vain that the New Patriotic Party under its dynamic leader pioneered as part of its manifesto, a pro-poor agriculture policy known as Planting for Food and Jobs.
According to Mr Majeed Nasir the studio guest, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program is a Government of Ghana designed and implemented program within a five year period aim at promoting growth in food production and create jobs across the country. He praised the NPP government for the brave and bold initiative to expand agriculture, link agriculture to manufacturing under the IDIF program and also create jobs for the teeming youth.
The program is structured around 5 Pillars. They include : Seed, Fertilizer, Extension Service, Marketing and e-Fertilizer & Monitoring. Some of the crops targeted by the government include Maize, soybean, rice and vegetables. In the early 1990s agriculture accounted for 56 per cent of Ghana’s total employment figures compared to 41 per cent in 2017.
To prove to the good people of Ghana as promised, His Excellency President Nana Akuffo Addo is committed to soaring the employment figures by enabling farmers to enroll in the flagship program.
According to him, the PFJ focuses on delivering improved seeds, fertilizers and extension services to smallholder farmers across the country at a 50 per cent subsidy absorbed by the government. He said the good news was that In February 2019, the Planting for Food and Jobs raked in over Gh 1.2 billion or a whopping $270,276 in crop value according to Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This was due to use of direct labour, use of improved seeds, availability of subsidized fertilizers and the increase in extension service delivery to farmers enrolled in the program.
As a reminder, Mr Majeed Nasir said In the first year in 2017, 200,000 smallholder farmers were enroll in the Planting for Food and Jobs program through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with additional 600.000 jobs created in 2018. Due to this influx, the agricultural sector recorded relatively stable food prices in 2017. He took this opportunity to applaud the performance of the agricultural sector in the last three years, which has added so many jobs and has put money in people’s pockets to make their lives meaningful.Prior to 2017 about 134,000 metric tons of fertilizers were distributed to farmers across the country but with the introduction of the New Patriotic Party’s flagship program Planting for Food and Jobs, the agricultural sector saw a rise in figures to 296,000 metric tons of fertilizers. Additional 162,000 metric tons of fertilizers supplies were added to farmers enrolled in the program, a total of 357,000 fertilizer area.
Mr Majeed Nasir who also doubles as a Deputy PRO of NPP New York chapter said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has partnered the National Entrepreneurship and Initiative Plan and with the collaboration of West Africa Agricultural productivity program (WAAPP), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to create additional jobs through a concept known as the Green house farming where a structure is built to control the temperature in that dome. Touching on the immense benefit of this some structure, the greenhouse farming is mainly to increase the production of vegetables and leguminous crops.
The Deputy PRO stated that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has constructed three Greenhouse farming villages at Kasoa, Dawhenya and Akomadan which is expected to contribute to a boost in vegetable farming. This new technology would open fresh window of opportunity to build the capacity of about 300 regional development officers and 10 supervisors from Ministry of Food and Agriculture in greenhouse management. Direct jobs is expected to reach at least 1000 vegetable farmers whiles it will also create about 5,000 indirect jobs along the commodity value chain. The free extension services has already seen an enrolment of 1,200 extension officers into the five agricultural colleges in the country. With the expansion, additional 4.000 extension Assistants would mobilized to assist the extension officers in their work in the field.
Mr Majeed Nasir reiterated the good policies churn out so far by the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also help to reduce the graduate unemployment in the country with so many graduates going into entrepreneurships with support from government. In line with this program, the President recently awarded 3,000 entrepreneurs with a GHC30 million facility disbursed according a formula to be used across the country, the first of it's kind in the country. The first batch was distributed to 1,350 entrepreneurs in a similar ceremony in 2018, bringing the total to 4,350 beneficiaries.
In conclusion, he made the point that the Planting for Food and Jobs would contribute immensely to food productivity, ensure food security, reduce food import bill of the government, and provide an avenue to modernize agriculture and link it to the springing 1 District 1 Factory initiative which is currently underway to expand the manufacturing sector.
By: NPP USA Communication Directorate