President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday, 28th August 2023, launched Phase Two of Government’s flagship programme on agriculture, “Planting for Food and Jobs,” at the University for Development Studies, in Tamale.
Targeted at building on the successes of the initial programme, the second phase of the programme is a five-year master plan for the transformation of agriculture in Ghana with focus on modernisation through the development of a selected commodity value chain and active private sector participation.
Speaking at the launch, President Akufo-Addo stated that the second phase, by design, “takes a holistic view and places greater emphasis on value chain approaches by focusing on strengthening linkages between actors along eleven selected agricultural commodity value chains broadly categorised into grains, roots and tuber, vegetables and poultry.”
He added that Phase Two of the Programme also seeks to improve service delivery to maximise impact, and substitutes direct input subsidy with smart agricultural financial support in the form of comprehensive input credit, with provision for in-kind payment.
The President disclosed further that key elements of the new phase also include an input credit system that provides farmers with access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and other support services for improving productivity and yield as well as storage infrastructure and logistic hub to improve storage and distribution of produce to reduce post-harvest losses.
Additionally, it also includes off-taker arrangements/commodity trading to improve farmer access to markets which guarantees fair prices for crops; and a digitised platform for management, monitoring and coordination to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the programme.
“The impact of the Programme is expected to be in the area of job creation, with some one-point-two million (1.2 million) farmers to be enrolled in the first year. In the next four (4) years, the Programme is destined to record an annual average of two hundred and ten thousand (210,000) new farm-related jobs. This will exclude other jobs along the agricultural value chains estimated at an annual average of four hundred and twenty thousand over the same period,” President Akufo-Addo said.
It will be recalled that, On Wednesday, 19th April 2017, President Akufo-Addo launched the maiden “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme at Goaso in the Ahafo region to represent government’s key initiative to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers. It summarily targeted a significant increase in agricultural productivity and pursued a value-addition strategy, aimed at rapidly ramping up agro-processing and developing new and stable markets.
The President noted that, the successful implementation of the first phase has resulted in reaching over 2.7 million farmers and other value chain actors under the five modules, a relatively stable food security environment with food self-sufficiency in major food staples such as maize, cassava and yam and an increased agricultural sector growth rate from 2.7% in 2016 to an average of 6.3% from 2017 to 2021.
He continued that, as a result of this, “Government has, thus, been able to achieve the annual target of six percent (6%) of sector growth, set under the Malabo Declaration to which Ghana is a signatory, increased fertilizer application rate from eight kilogrammes per hectare (8 kg/ha) in 2016 to twenty-five kilogrammes per hectare (25 kg/ha) in 2022, an increased distribution of certified seeds from two thousand metric tons (2,000 MT) in 2016 to thirty-six thousand metric tons (36,000 MT) in 2022 and an increased private sector investment in the seed industry.”
The President was happy to disclose that, “a recent Summit, organised by the United Nations on the need to build country food systems in September 2021 in New York and at the AU Dakar II Summit in January 2022, underscored the need for the review of strategies for delivering solutions to challenges in the agricultural sector” as such “it is praise-worthy that Ghana has responded to the call to action at both Summits by rolling out the Second Phase of the PFJ Programme.”
“I continue to give you my pledge that farmers, food crop farmers, fish farmers and livestock farmers will all have the support and respect they deserve from my government. We need to raise agriculture to a higher plane to be able to improve on the quality of life for our people,” he assured.