We’ll deal with saboteurs of PFJs —Agric Minister warns

Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr.OwusuAfriyieAkoto, has warned of drastic measures of saboteurs who are out to thwart the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs intervention.

The sector minister issued the warning in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region, on Thursday, when he embarked on a working visit to the region to inspect government’s agriculture interventions including Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) in the area.

Dr. Akoto who interacted with the district directors of agriculture, agro input dealers, municipal and district coordinating directors, some key staff of the Regional Coordinating Council among others, commended the security agencies in the region for partnering with the Regional Directorate of Agriculture, to pave way for the successive implementation of the PFJs.

He cited an instance where the security agencies in the region led by the outgoing Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Rockson Bukari Ayine, collaborated  with the Regional Directorate  of Agriculture to arrest four miscreants, who were engaged in the smuggling of  some of the government’s  subsidised fertilisers to neighbouring countries.

The sector minister who further warned that his outfit would not also spare any official from the Agriculture Directorate for trying to connive with the saboteurs, said the ministry in collaboration with the security agencies are working hard   to retrieve government’s money from the miscreants who were caught smuggling the subsidised fertilisers across to neighbouring countries for sale and to be followed by the necessary legal action.

“We have also dispatched auditors to the various regions to audit those officers in charge of the distribution chains of the government subsidised farm inputs including fertiliser and seed subsidies. Those officers who will be found culpable will be made to face the full rigours of the law,” Dr.  Akoto warned.

On the fall of the armyworm, the minister said unlike last year   farming season where several hectares of farmlands were destroyed by the worm,   the incident had reduced drastically in this crop season.

He attributed the success story to the training of the spraying gangs put in place by the ministry, the provision of insecticides meant for the spraying of the worms and the training of the famers among others.

Dr. Akoto said government was also working hard with the Department of Feeder Roads to work on broken-down roads leading to farming areas and to open more new ones for easy transportation of farm produce to the market centres.

The minister, who mentioned the construction of agriculture warehouses across all the ten regions of the country as part of the measures being adopted by the ministry to boost up food security in the country, said the government would also introduce the “Rearing for Food and Jobs” next year.

He stated that the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions which are endowed with the rearing of animals including cattle, sheep and goats among others would benefit enormously from the project.

The outgoing regional minister admonished the municipal and district directors of agriculture to heed to the call of the sector minister to work hard so as to ensure that the government’s interventions impacted positively on the livelihoods of the people.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

 

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