745,000 Jobs Created under Planting for Food and Jobs Real- Dr Akoto

A total of 745,000 jobs have been created under the government’s flagship project― Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, has disclosed.


Dr Akoto said the success of PFJ were mainly driven by increase in the provision of improved seeds and the availability of subsidized fertilizers supplied to participating farmers in 2017


He noted, however, that but for some unexpected challenges such as the undersupply of seeds and the incidence of fall armyworm, a bigger success story would have been told.


The Food and Agriculture Minister, who was addressing a news conference in Accra on Friday, disclosed further that 296, 000 metric tons of fertilizer were distributed to farmers under the programme in 2017 as against 134,000 metric tons in 2016.


This, he said, meant that under the PFJ programme, an additional 162,000 metric tons of fertilizer were supplied to beneficiary farmers, over and above the number distributed in the previous year (2016).


Dr Akoto explained that the additional 162,000 metric tons of fertilizer were applied at an average rate of 10 bags (50kg each) per hectare, bringing the total fertilized area to about 357,000 hectares during the 2017 planting season.


Each hectare of the additional cultivated area, the Minister said, required the services of two farm hands on full-time basis throughout the farming season and that by applying these two farm hands per hectare for the total additional fertilized area (357,000), a total of some 715, 000 informal jobs were generated in the rural economy, capturing, thereby, the active labour market in the rural areas of the country.


He disclosed that jobs were also created in other areas along the commodity value chain, namely inputs distribution and application; post-harvest handling of produce; primary processing and transportation; handling and warehousing; and marketing.


Dr Akoto said these other activities also generated 27,000 jobs while the formal sector― extension services and farmer registration― also created another 3,000 jobs.


He said the use of labour, improved seeds and fertilizers combined with increased extension service delivery resulted in the production of an additional 485,000 MT of maize; 179,000 MT of rice; and 45,200 MT of vegetables with a total value of some GH¢1.2 billion.


It is recalled that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, launched the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region in April 2017.


The programme aims to ensure immediate and adequate availability of food, and to provide the raw material base in the country through improved productivity and intensification of targeted support to private sector service providers.


Additionally, the programme seeks to provide job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the agricultural sector and to create general awareness for all formal workers to either own farms and grow cereals or vegetables, or establish backyard gardens.


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)