President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday launched the phase two of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme to consolidate the gains made since the implementation of the first phase from 2017 to 2022.
Phase Two of the PFJ, anchored on an input credit system, will provide affordable and timely credit designed to meet farmers’ needs, replacing the input subsidy under the first phase.
It is designed on four main principles – value chain driven, market-driven, private sector focus and promoting inclusivity, and will focus on grains such as maize, rice, soyabeans, and sorghum, roots and tubers such as yam, vegetables, and poultry such as broiler production and processing.
It is also to improve access to agricultural inputs, foster the adoption of modern farming practices and technologies, and catapult the agricultural sector to new heights.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, in an address to launch the initiative in Tamale, said it demonstrated “our government’s unwavering commitment to the growth and prosperity of our farming communities.”
He said: “By providing credit to our farmers, we empower them to make informed choices and invest in the inputs that will significantly boost their productivity. We understand that increased agricultural productivity is the cornerstone of economic growth, rural development, and poverty reduction.”
He said the initiative was a decisive step towards addressing challenges in the country’s agricultural sector, adding it held immense potential to accelerate the growth of the agricultural sector.
He said it also represented a transformative approach towards empowering farmers, enhancing productivity, and fostering sustainable agricultural development in the country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was confident that the initiative would contribute to the overall stability of food supply in the country and promote financial inclusion, to enable farmers build credit histories and access formal financial services that were previously out of their reach.
He said: “We will invest in capacity building and extension services equipping our farmers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively utilise the inputs and implement improved farming systems.”
He touched on the first phase of the PFJ saying “There were significant successes recorded during the phase one with over 2.7 million famers reached and other value chain actors, adding that other notable successes included a relatively stable food security environment with food self-sufficiency in major food staples such as maize, cassava and yam.”
He said there was also increased agricultural sector growth rate from 2.7 per cent in 2016 to an average of 6.3% from 2017 to 2021 and an achievement of nearly 50% self-sufficiency in rice in 2022, down from 29.1% in 2016.
Dr Bryan Acheampong, Minister for Food and Agriculture, said the focus on the selected grains, roots and tubers, vegetables, and poultry did not mean that other crops and livestock would be abandoned.
He said development partners would also align their projects in line with the principles of the new PFJ.
Ya-Na Abukari (II), Overlord of Dagbon said Phase One of the PFJ impacted positively, especially on the rice sector in the region and expressed hope that the new phase would also impact positively on the input sector.
Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe, 2022 National Best Farmer, thanked the government for the many initiatives to enhance the lives of farmers and ensure food security in the country.
He said the PFJ had made farming attractive to the youth and pledged the support of farmers for the successful implementation of Phase Two of the PFJ.