The controversy surrounding the number of jobs created by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) policy is far from over as it is being subjected to scrutiny by farmer associations.
Joining the fray is the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association, Ghana (NFFAWA), which has begun a nationwide research to gather empirical data to ascertain the actual number of jobs created under the policy.
The sector minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, had stated that a total of 745,000 jobs had been created under the PFJ policy in 2017 along the agriculture value chain.
Some individuals and organisations have, however, taken issues with the figures put out by the minister, questioning the empirical evidence of the jobs that had allegedly been created.
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In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Wednesday, the chairman of NFFAWA, Mr Davis Korboe, said even though the group had reservations about the figures that had been put out by Dr Akoto, they were waiting for the results of the research they had commissioned to state their stance on the issue.
“We were alarmed by the figures but we cannot make any point without empirical evidence so we have deployed researchers to all districts across the country where the PFJ exists to get first hand information.
“Hopefully, our findings will be ready by next week so that we can state our position clearly on the jobs that were said to have been created,” he said.
The chairman was speaking on the sidelines of a visit by the executives of NFFAWA to the premises of AFGRI Ghana Company Limited, a subsidiary of John Deere, dealers in agriculture equipment and financing solutions in the country.
The visit was part of initiatives by the farmer association to collaborate with the company to promote agriculture, especially in the use of appropriate equipment.
Since it started operations in the country, AFGRI has been a one-stop supplier of heavy duty agriculture machinery and equipment to farmers across the country.
The company also provides financial solutions by linking farmers to other partners while empowering stakeholders in the agriculture value chain through training and capacity building.
The company has also established demonstration farms in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other agencies to train farmers on best practices in agriculture.
The model farms, which are located mostly in the Upper West, Upper East, and Northern regions, use appropriate technologies to promote farming.
Mr Korboe described AFGRI as a game changer in the supply of right agriculture implements and technologies, stressing that there was the need for a public private partnerships (PPP) to leverage on the huge potential of the company.
For his part, the Country Manager of AFGRI, Mr Gerrie Jordan, said the company controlled 50 per cent of the market in terms of the supply of modern equipment to farmers.
He said the focus of AFGRI and John Deere was to transform the country’s agriculture through the supply of the right equipment and training programmes to boost the sector.