The West African country Ghana has initiated an agriculture support programme aimed at providing food for the citizenry as well as give jobs to the unemployed.
The launch of this program took place in Goaso, a town located in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.
Some 200, 000 farmers in the region are set to benefit when the programme rolls out.
In the 2017 budget, the government earmarked GHȻ560 million for the initiative expected to create over 70, 000 jobs.
The ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ project is the flagship agricultural programme of the Nana Addo-led government.
President Akuffo Addo says the programme will among other things encourage the youth to desist from migrating elsewhere in search of non-existent jobs.The programme will go a long way in transforming the country’s agriculture sector.
It will be rolled out in all the 216 districts in Ghana.
Five main crops which would be cultivated under the project include: soya beans, rice, maize, sorghum and vegetables based on five key pillars including provision of certified fertilizer, seeds, marketing and e-Agriculture, extension service.
The project is expected to create over 750,000 jobs.
Assuring that all the necessary measures have been put in place to guarantee the success of the programme, President Akufo-Addo further indicated that, government has reduced the prices of fertilizer by 50% to ensure the success of the programme.
“A 50kg bag of NPK fertilizer, the fertilizer mostly used by farmers, up to now has been costing GH¢115. Under this government, farmers will only pay GH¢57.50 for it. Likewise, a 50kg bag of urea, now sells at GH¢47.50, as opposed to GH¢80 last year,” he said.
The President also said, government will engage graduates from the various colleges of Agriculture to ensure the success of the programme.
“in 2018, we will employ 2,000 more extension officers, with the solemn pledge of employing more graduates from our Colleges of Agriculture in the subsequent years.” “To reinforce the pledge made by the Minister, government intends to construct a 1,000 metric ton capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts. The purpose of these warehouses would be to handle produce, as well as to store the anticipated surpluses under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign,” he expressed.
The programme, according to the government, would also motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans.
Interested farmers in Ghana will be given free seedlings among other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices.