President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo has said his flagship Planting For Food and Jobs programme, one of the major policies of the NPP government, has brought about positive transformations in the lives of Ghanaian farmers.
Addressing Parliament, he said, “There is no doubt that but for the vigorous interventions we have made in agriculture in the past five years, which have made us more self-reliant in our food needs, our country would have been at much greater risk as the fallout from the dramatic worldwide increases in freight charges hit prices in our markets and on our supermarket shelves”.
Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project
He said the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project has resulted in the availability of a total of thirteen thousand, one hundred and ninety (13,190) hectares of additional irrigable land, through the rehabilitation of Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes, for rice and vegetable cultivation.
He noted that the scheme has brought about improved rice yields increasing from 4.5 tons per hectare to 5.5 tons per hectare resulting in increased production and growth in farm incomes.
He said it has benefitted some fourteen thousand, two hundred and sixty-four (14,264) smallholder beneficiaries directly, creating some forty thousand (40,000) jobs along several value chain activities generated from the irrigation schemes.
The president announced that the Tono Irrigation Dam has been fully rehabilitated, fully operational, and is serving the needs of many farmers in the areas around the dam.
Additionally, the government said the Ministry of Agriculture has engaged nine large scale investors in addition to smallholder farmers at the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP) to produce rice, maize and vegetables on one thousand, three hundred hectares (1,300ha) of lands, using modern production technologies to achieve improved productivity and production, within the next three (3) months.
Touching on the Ghana Peri-urban Vegetable Value Chain Project, the president said it has provided irrigation infrastructure covering a total of five hundred and forty-one (541) hectares, which directly impacts vegetable farmers in the Greater Accra Region.
The government said it has made provision of inputs and technical support to vegetable farmers at Hikpo in the Volta Region and Asokwa in the Ashanti Region. The project has provided off-taker arrangements for both domestic and international markets.
President Akufo-Addo said, “The construction of eighty (80) warehouses, with a combined storage capacity of eighty-thousand metric tonnes, (80,000MT), has been completed, and their entry into the food production chain is offering better protection to the harvests of farmers”.
According to the government, Ghana’s highest ever output of cocoa was produced last year. He said a total of one million, and forty-seven thousand, three hundred and eighty-five tonnes (1,047,385) were produced.
“Together with our counterparts in Cote d’Ivoire, we have addressed the inequalities in the international marketing system of cocoa by paying a Living Income Differential of four hundred United States dollars ($400) per tonne of cocoa to our farmers. This is a remarkable initiative that cushions the income of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer, the backbone of our economy”, he said.
He added that a non-adjustable electronic weighing scale has been introduced for the purchase of cocoa from our cocoa farmers.
“This scale, which was introduced at the start of the cocoa season in October, has been approved by the Ghana Standards Authority, it cannot be tampered with by purchasers”.
Additionally, the president said the use of technology to attract more young people into agriculture is continuing with the training of five hundred and thirty-seven (537) youth in the production of high-value vegetables using Greenhouse technology. One hundred and ninety (190) of them have been on an 11-month internship in Israel, and they are back with a lot of enthusiasm. We are expecting great things from them.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini