LET’S SUSTAIN PLANTING FOR FOOD AND JOBS!

AGRICULTURE is the mainstay of our economy, providing us with the food to ensure our food security, raw material to turn the wheel of our industries. We export our excess to foreign countries for foreign exchange. In order words, agriculture is our life.

Indeed, nature has endowed the country with different ecological zones for the cultivation of crops. We see loose grains even sprouting on the median of roads. Simply, the soil is good, crops can be grown everywhere.

Most importantly, we rarely experience any famine or food shortage. Even the drought and the bushfire that we suffered in the early 80’s, that resulted in people queuing  to buy kenkey while it was on fire; others bought the dough to go home and cook, did not go far.

We leant lessons from that and we have moved on. Since then we have not experienced food shortage on that magnitude.

Perhaps, one area in our life that has not been diluted with partisanship is the agricultural sector which has seen a degree of policy continuity.

We recollect the first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s policy aimed at boosting agricultural productivity, soon after independence, and which has been sustained in another form “Operation Feed Yourself” to today’s “Planting for Food and Jobs.”   This is what we mean by policy continuity.

The policy of continuity of the annual Farmers Day, instituted over three decades ago, has really helped to encourage farmers and fishers to continue to produce more to feed the growing population. It has also brought farming to the limelight for people to know that agriculture is a business.

No doubt, our population is increasing; meaning more mouths to feed. Ironically, though, the population of farmers are aging and the younger generation is shying away from the drudgery of tilling the land with hoes and cutlasses.

They are also trooping into the urban centres looking for non-existing jobs.

In the end, they get frustrated and through the influence of bad peers, they become what we do not want them to be.

It is against this backdrop that we call for more support for the Youth in Agriculture programme to get our younger generation to venture into modernised agriculture production.

The Ghanaian Times wishes to encourage the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.  In spite of budgetary constraints allocations; to sustain the programme.

We believe useful lessons have been learnt in the first year of the implementation of the programme.  Including the fight against the Fall Army Worm that threatened our crop production last year.

We are particularly glad to hear that, despite the army worm threat, our indefatigable farmers have produced   enough grains as expected under the programme.

Soon, the rains will set in, and our farmers would pick up their hoes and cutlasses again. We hope the agriculture inputs: fertilizers and improved seeds would be made available to them in good time.

We also urge the farmers to continue to cooperate with the Agriculture Extension Officers and other field staff of the ministry to ensure the success of the programme, and for that matter abundance of food in the country.

In the long term, we reiterate the need for more irrigation facilities for all-year- round crop production to ensure food security for the country.

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