The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in charge of Horticulture, George Oduro, has reiterated the commitment of the government to improve the lives of farmers in the country through the modernization of the country’s agricultural sector.
He said government’s interventions in the agricultural sector through pragmatic policies will not be politicized whilst insisting that everyone who deserves to benefit will do so without any discrimination.
According to the Deputy Minister issues of agriculture and one’s access will not be reduced to political affiliations particularly under the leadership of the President, Nana Akufo Addo and the Agric Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.
He observed that the politicization of government programmes, particularly in the area of agriculture has not helped the growth of the sector and farmers, in the past, a development the current government administration intends to avoid.
Addressing Chiefs and people in the Ahafo as part of ongoing efforts by MoFA to engage various stakeholders in the implementation of government’s flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs” campaign, Mr. Oduro urged traditional rulers to rally their subjects to participate in the programme.
He noted that government is ready to offer incentives to the youth to go into farming, stressing that the success story has been demonstrated in the smooth implementation of the pilot phase of the PFJ programme, in 2017.
Mr. Oduro, who is also the member of Parliament for the New Edubiase constituency, in the Ashanti region, noted that the government intends to register about half a million farmers and similarly support them with incentives to increase productivity and improve their income, in this crop season.
He explained that it is part of this reason that MoFA is soliciting the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of government’s agriculture programmes.
Under the PFJ programme, for instance, the government is said to have guaranteed a ready market for farmers through a comprehensive arrangement with aggregators. With the introduction of the Warehouse Receipt System, it is expected that farmers can now access financial support from banks using their receipts as collateral.
The traditional rulers from the Ahafo enclave made up of Tepa, Maaban, Goaso, Acherensua, Bechem, Asuhyiae, and others pledged to allocate 40,000 acres towards farming in their areas.
Twenty thousand (20,000) acres of this land is hoped to be used for rice production whilst the remaining 20,000 will go into the cultivation of bamboo for the generation of electricity and other products.
The project, being spearheaded by the Paramount Chief of Maaban, Nana Darko Montwi II, is expected to create jobs for youths in the catchment communities.
Nana Darko Montwi II said investors for the bamboo project have already visited the area to do a feasibility study, and therefore, commended the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, for lending his support to the project.
The Paramount Chief of the Tepa Traditional Area, Nana Atwerewaa Ampem II, said there was no doubt agriculture holds the key to solving the numerous youth unemployment in the country. He, therefore, pledged his full support towards the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign and encouraged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to pursue the project.
By Kizito Cudjoe, thebftonline.com