Opportunities revealed under Planting for Food and Jobs 2
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, has said the second phase of one of Ghana government’s flagship programmes, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ2) has been carefully crafted to change the country’s agricultural sector and give more opportunities to the youth in particular as well as increase food production to meet both local demand and for exports.
With a special focus on smallholder farmers, the initiative is also expected to help the country to drastically reduce its dependence on imports such as rice, poultry and vegetables such as onions among others to save the country some foreign exchange.
He has, therefore, called on investors with interest in agriculture to leverage the various opportunities such as the heavy waivers on the importation of farm implements and inputs such as machinery among others to help boost production.
Addressing a packed gathering of diasporans and potential investors on day two of the 2nd US Ghana Business Summit and Expo at the Fox School of Business, Temple University in Philadelphia, yesterday, he said “this second phase of the initiative has, incorporated in it, a number of lessons from phase one and it is meant to change the agricultural sector of the country for good.
We are highly optimistic about this because it will benefit the entire value change. Aside that, aggregators have been engaged to help beneficiaries under this initiative to ensure that whatever funds that are disbursed are properly utilized to meet the goals of the project”.
PFJ Phase II
The Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II (PFJ 2.0) has been designed as a bold, innovative, and comprehensive approach to tackle head-on the hurdles on our food security journey. The underpinning model, which is the Input Credit System, will solve a number of critical challenges namely: Access to credit; Quality of agro inputs; unstructured markets of agricultural produce; and low mechanisation, among others.
Under the roll out of the programme in full, one will no longer need to mobilise upfront financing for land development and preparation as well as seeds and fertilizers, which together constitute about 80 per cent of production cost.
The PFJ 2.0 is a five-year plan to attain food and raw material self-sufficiency in the following 10 crops and poultry: Vegetables – tomato, onion and pepper; Grains – rice, maize, soya and sorghum; Plantain, Roots, and Tubers – cassava, and yam; and poultry where the emphasis will be on broiler production and processing.
These commodities were selected based on their: significance in the diet of Ghanaians; contribution to food and nutrition security; contribution to foreign exchange earning; and contribution to import substitution.
Mr Addo said the new design of the programme is meant to make the sector not only lucrative and attractive through the use of mechanized systems, but to ensure food security; as well as fairly reward players in that sector.
He said the government is also working to ensure that smuggling of grains such as maize and rice among others are smuggled across the border illegally but those who need it can come buy them using the right channels.
He said the government is also determined under the programme to drastically cut away post-harvest losses.
Consequently, he urged investors to consider investments in the provision of storage facilities, processing machinery among other things.
On the certification of products, he said the government is working on some measures to process to ensure that there is one unique certification which when obtained, can help products from Ghana enter other destination.
He bemoaned the fact that presently, different certifications are given by different agencies of the government which makes the processes cumbersome.
Business summit, expo
An initiative of the US-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia, the event is meant to among other things help to deepen discussion and relationship with critical institutions that facilitate international business development and cooperation.
Modelled around the concepts such as the World Affairs Council, African Caribbean Business Council and World Trade Centre of Delaware, the annual event comes at a time when Ghanaian businesses and trade institutions are seeking credible collaborations and partnerships to scale up in the wake of the challenging economic environment in the country.