That Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) has made significant impact on the agriculture sector is not in doubt.
The flagship programme of the government is aimed at making Ghana self-sufficient and a major exporter of food products in the West African sub-region.
It is also not in doubt that since its implementation, many farmers have benefited from the programme, particularly in the supply of fertilisers and other farm inputs.
Led by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the programme has received commendation from farmers across the country.
But not everybody is fully satisfied and one such body is the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER).
The institute has conducted a research into the performance of the PFJs and has identified challenges relating to subsidies of farm inputs, market output and extension services.
According to ISSER, the above areas remain a major set-back for the programme.
“There is a high willingness and urge on the part of farmers to feed the nation but issues such as pricing, bad weather, post-harvest losses and general cost of
production with little government support are discouraging their resolve to continue the agenda to produce for feeding and production,” it said.
In the research report, ISSER pointed out that as referred to, the interventions with regard to input distribution under the PFJs made more inputs available to farmers based on their purchasing power, but majority of the farmers had little understanding of the programme.
“A majority of the farmers did not know about the subsidy component and improved seeds that were being offered, hence most of them still operate at the subsistence level.”
Price fluctuation and exploitation of farmers by middle men and women were two of the biggest problems affecting farmers under the programme.
The Ghanaian Times find the research report very revealing and important for the agric sector and recommend that it should be looked at with the seriousness it deserves.
We are of the opinion that the agric sector is very critical in our national development and any contribution towards its growth should be commended.
We applaud ISSER for coming out with the useful findings and hope that the MOFA would take them on board and fine-tune the programme moving into the future.
Admittedly, some of the research findings are already known to everyone and the findings only go to emphasize the need for the country to find solutions to them.
We commend MOFA for the support it has been giving farmers since the introduction of the programme and hope that in spite of the challenges, it would expand the programme for the benefit of the majority of the farmers so that they can increase their produce and continue to feed the nation.