Pres to announce packages to boost agric production

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to announce a package that would further boost operations of farmers at tomorrow’s Farmer’s Day celebration to be held in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has announced.

Falling short of what the package would be, he said this year’s celebration would be used not only to reward hardworking regional and national best farmers but would also be used as a platform to outline efforts by the government to further enhance agricultural productivity and its rewards to farmers in 2019 and 2020.

The celebration would be on the theme: “Agriculture, Moving Ghana beyond Aid” and would reflect the premium placed on agriculture by the administration and the critical role of the sector and sector players in Ghana’s ability to meet our beyond aid goal.

Speaking to journalists at the Wednesday edition of the bi-weekly media briefings in Accra yesterday, he said even though agriculture employed more than 34 per cent of the country’s working population, its reward to farmers had been dwindling over the years.

“Though 34 per cent of the employment population is engaged in agriculture, output and its rewards to farmers had been dwindling in recent years. Growth in the sector had dwindled to 0.9 per cent in 2014, 2.3 per cent in 2015 and 2.9 per cent in 2016,” he added.

However, the sector had started picking up following the introduction a number of interventions by the current government, adding that; “In 2017 the administration introduced the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme targeting 250,000 farmers.”

He said the programme apart from targeting 250,000 farmers also focused on supplying inputs to farmers including fertilisers and improved seeds, providing farmers with agric extension officers who are assisting farmers use modern agriculture methods to increase yields.

In addition it was to assist farmers with marketing channels for their output through organised buffer stock company and licensed buying companies.

The minister explained that statistics from the Ghana Statistical service indicated that agricultural productivity was boosted to an estimated 6.1 per cent subsequent to the introduction of the planting for food and jobs.

“In 2018 the number of target farmers has been doubled to 500,000 and a further growth of 6.8 per cent is expected on top the 2017 figure. Note that in both years the number of target farmers was exceeded,” he said.

Mr Nkrumah explained that the 2019 programme was expected to be expanded to focus on the number of farmers, kinds of inputs, the agricultural products and expansion in the markets to particularly focus on international market.

He said details of this expansion would be outdoored at the Tamale celebration and it was expected to yield 7.3 per cent and 7.0 per cent for 2019 and 2020 respectively.

By Cliff Ekuful

 

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