Allow private sector to lead the Planting for Food and Jobs …PFAG urges govt
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on the government to allow the private sector to lead the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative.
The government it said need to only create an enabling environment and provide policy directions.
According to the PFAG, the government could achieve that by adopting the Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited outgrower scheme which delivered value to farmers and other value chain actors.
Executive Director, PFAG, Dr Charles Nyaaba, made these recommendations when he presented the findings on the “Assessment of the PFJ for the 2022 planting season” at a stakeholder validation and credibility workshop on the PFJ in Accra yesterday.
Carried out within March and April, this year in 26 districts, the assessment among others, targeted fertiliser and seed suppliers, input retailers, farmers and officers from the district and regional department of agriculture.
The assessment of the PFJ was to establish the effectiveness of the implementation and its effect on beneficiary farmers and provide feedback to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to improve PFJ implementation going forward.
Dr Nyaaba said that using proper transparent system in selecting the aggregators and service providers would help in the sustainability of the programme.
He said the farmers complained of little or no differences between open market and subsidised fertiliser for 2022, adding, “high cost of transportation, exchange rates and low subsidies were the attribution to price hikes”.
Dr Nyaaba said farmers in dealing with fertilizer price hikes resorted to reducing their farm sizes, reducing the quantity of fertiliser applied to their crops, shifting from the cultivation of good crops to other crops as well as abandoning their farms to look for other economic opportunities.
On budget credibility, he said the assessment found that, MoFA does not maintain an up-to-date and verifiable database of farmers, farm sizes under cultivation, farm locations and crop types which could form an objective basis for planning and budgeting.
“It also found inability of government to spend the agriculture budget as planned which continue to hamper efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal two, zero hunger by 2030,” he added.
Making a presenting on the findings on “Review of Budget Implementation of Ghana’s Fertilizer Subsidy Programme,” Mr Godson Aloryito, Programme Officer, International Budget Partnership (IBP) urged the government to strengthen budget credibility by releasing approved funds on time.
“MoFA should improve cash management; provide explanations for spending deviations in annual reports, enhance planning, budgeting, and oversight mechanism and conduct a value for money audit of the subsidy programme and the PFJ by the Audit Service,” he added.
A representative of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Bryan Acheampong, assured that the recommendations would be incorporated in the revised model of the initiative to help farmers and all other stakeholders
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR