MOFA reviews performance

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture,

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food Agriculture,

The Annual Agricultural Sector Performance Review workshop was yesterday held in Accra by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to evaluate the effectiveness of the country’s agricultural policy for the last two years.

It also seeks to afford participants the opportunity to adopt measures and strategies to upscale the current performance under government flagship programmes prior to the introduction of new modules.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, speaking at the opening said, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme is making strides and more efforts are needed to increase the current number of 600,000 to one million next year.

According to him, about 2,700 agricultural extension officers are being recruited to support the government’s programme to reverse the food importation syndrome that has plagued the country.

The Minister said the $2.2 billion used annually to import food could be channelled into other productive ventures if everyone got on board and supported the government’s agricultural policies.

Dr Akoto said the Planting for Food and Jobs programme which started with 200,000 farmers now had over 750,000 farmers and indicated that the limited resources of the country called for the prioritisation and sequencing of programmes to ensure a successful implementation.

He said the portfolio which started with five crops had  two more crops added and would focus more on small holder farmers who produce about 90 per cent of the country’s agricultural needs.

The minister stated that small holder farmers in other countries had succeeded in transforming their economies and could also be replicated in Ghana, adding the choice of technology and improved seeds could increase the country’s crop production.

He said plans were far advanced to procure hand machineries for the farmers.

The Minister said the production of maize and recently soya bean would be used to feed the poultry industry to improve the output of farmers and to reverse the annual import of frozen chicken with its attendant foreign exchange challenges.

Dr Akoto explained that over 800,000 metric tonnes ware houses were being constructed in anticipation of bumper harvest of over 200,000 metric tonnes and the creation of the commodity exchange market would also promote the sales of Ghanaian commodities.

He said legislation had been submitted to parliament for the creation of the free-crops authority to enable the value chain operators take their destiny into their own hands.

The Minister said the Fall Armyworm had been controlled and assured that the task force was still in place and would help address the challenge.

He said the government was targeting a double digit growth in food production and would adopt all measures to exceed the 8.4 target achieved this year.

Dr. Akoto explained that when fully implemented, the Green House Village would make the country the number one vegetable producer on the continent and assured that all 64 defunct agricultural mechanisation centres would be revived to support next year’s policies and programmes.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr Robert Akobea urged the participants to take decisions that would improve the performance of the sector.

 By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu

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