President Akufo-Addo has said his government will punish saboteurs of his flagship agricultural initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The President said persons alleged to be involved in smuggling fertilizer and other farm inputs meant for the programme will not be spared.
Speaking at a meeting with the Ghanaian community in China, President Akufo-Addo also called for an attitudinal change to enhance the country’s development.
“We are going to have to stop that way of behavior and be serious about our own development… If people are caught in this exercise of smuggling, they will face the full rigors of the law. There are no two ways about it. We cannot catch them fair enough, but if they are caught, we have to make sure the law is applied in all spheres.”
“We are still talking about the smuggling of Ghanaian fertilizers across the border. I think those are things that we Ghanaians have to think about and look ourselves in the mirror. How come we mobilize our resources and we are complacent in having those resources enjoyed by people who are not Ghanaians. We create policies which are meant to help our people and some people find it acceptable to be in cahoots with others who are not.”
Planting for Food & Jobs fertilizer stolen
It emerged recently that some seven officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the Sunyani Municipality of the Brong Ahafo were under investigation for stealing fertilizers for the programme.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kweku Asomah-Cheremeh, who made this known at a press conference said the fertilizers, estimated at GH¢600,000 were stolen between November 2017 to June 2018 at the Ministry’s warehouse.
The Planting for Food and Jobs programme is one of the government’s flagship initiatives aimed at improving agricultural production in the country.
The programme rolled out in all 216 districts of the country involves the supply of farm resources such as high-yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.
The Planting for Food and Jobs policy focuses on five main pillars including the supply of improved seeds to farmers at subsidized prices, the supply of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices, free extension services to farmers, marketing opportunities for produce after harvest, and E-Agriculture.
The programme was envisioned to absorb unemployed youth in rural areas, with the government initially targeting the creation of 750,000 jobs in its first phase.
The government, this year, disclosed that the first phase of the policy had accounted for the creation of 745,000 jobs.
The sector minister, however, explained that the jobs were created in rural areas and were essentially not taxable and did not contribute to pension funds.
Other activities under the Planting for Food & Jobs
The Distribution of about 80,000 bags of cereal and legume seeds, 36,000 sachets of vegetable seeds and about 2,000,000 bags of fertilizer
Recruitment of 822 agricultural extension personnel
Establishment of a task-force to assess the status of warehouses and storage facilities nationwide for rehabilitation
Creation of market opportunities for farmers by linking them with institutional buyers such as the School Feeding Programme and Prisons Service.
Electronic registration of over 34, 000 farmers out of more than 200,000 manually registered