The Minister of Food and Agriculture has Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the extension officers when employed will help enhance government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme when it takes off.
The sector Minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto made this revelation at a symposium on the 2017 budget statement organised by the Private Enterprise Federation and GIMPA in Accra on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
“If you come to the Ministry of Agriculture, there is supposed to be 4,400 vacant positions for extension officers. As I speak to you now, we don’t even have 2,600 and out of that 80 percent of them are going on retirement in the next two, three years. So there is the total decimation of the extension service."
He explained the extension officers are needed to enhance the link between technology and the farmers.
"And the extension service is the link between technology and the farmer, so if you remove that, it means that the farmer is being cut off from technology and you know we have small holdings and therefore the technology to favour the farmers will be technology that will be in the hands of the farmer and when he is being supervised to apply it, then you will get the maximum out of it,” he said.
“Over 1,500 graduates have come out of our five agricultural colleges and are sitting home doing nothing with their [certificates]. We have employed 1,200 of them to come and as I speak to you, they are undergoing training and orientation in all the regions to be dispatched to the various districts for the work to start,” he added
He said this will be to help government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme when it takes off.
The ministry has employed 1,500 extension officers to be dispatched across the country to assist with the programme. This implies that some more extension officers will be employed to help with the project.