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GH¢365m released for Planting for Food and Jobs

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi
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Dr Afriyie Akoto — Minister of Food and Agriculture
Dr Afriyie Akoto — Minister of Food and Agriculture

The government has released GH₵365 million to fund the various components under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ).

The amount is lower than the GH¢700 million allocated in the 2018 budget for the implementation of the programme.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, said this when he presented the mid-year fiscal policy review of the 2018 budget statement.He said a range of crops had been added to those cultivated in 2017, in the 2018 crop season.

Roots and tubers have been added as a fourth category to benefit from the programme, groundnut has been added to the legumes category, cabbage, lettuce and carrots have been added to the vegetable category, while cereals remain rice, maize and sorghum.

“A total of 6000 metric tonnes (mt) of improved seeds (70 per cent of target) of maize, rice, soya bean, sorghum, groundnut and vegetables have been distributed across the country. In addition, 120,000 bundles of cassava stick

The minister indicated that as of the end last month, 124,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser were supplied to farmers, while fertiliser companies have been engaged for the supply and distribution of 270,000 mt of both organic and inorganic fertiliser at a subsidised rate of 50 per cent.

There is also an ongoing biometric registration to increase the number of farmers registered under the PFJ from 201,000 in 2017 to 500,000.

Mr Ofori-Atta said evaluation of bids had been completed for the construction of 30 new warehouses to be equipped with seed cleaners, dryers and weighing scales in strategic districts in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

“The programme was given a further boost with the distribution of 216 pickups and 3,000 motorcycles and protective clothing to district agricultural departments and agricultural extension agents across the country,” he said.

The programme is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent, rice by 49 per cent, soybeans by 25 per cent and sorghum by 28 per cent from the current production levels. — GB