The Ashanti Region, which leads the chart in the government’s flagship agricultural programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), recorded a total of 257,000 participating farmers as at the end of 2019.

The Reverend John Manu, the Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) who announced this, said the number represented the total participants since the inception of the programme in April 2017.

Speaking at the second Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) and the Gold in the Soil Awards in Kumasi, he indicated that the majority of the PFJ beneficiaries in the Region were women.

The WOFAGRIC and the Gold in the Soil Awards was organized by Agrihouse Foundation, an agro-based organization, with support from Canada, Absa Bank Ghana and YARA.

The two-day programme afforded female farmers in Ashanti the opportunity to acquire training in leadership skills, soft skills as well as competence-based training and empowerment for small-holder women farmers and women agripreneurs.

Some 15 women farmers were awarded at the event with liquid fertilizers, a plaque and citation for distinctive output in their areas of farming.

MoFA statistics, according to Rev. Manu, indicated that, about 2,286,892 jobs have been created under the PFJ Programme.

The beneficiary farmers were either into food crops production, planting for export and rural development, greenhouse technology villages, rearing for food and jobs or agricultural mechanization services modules.

He said the motive was to modernize the agriculture sector and improve food security, create employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the country.

Rev. Manu touching on the COVID-19 pandemic, described it as a health crisis which posed serious threat to food security and an economic crisis that affected everybody in society.

He said agricultural implementers adjusting activities or developing COVID-19 mitigation interventions should consider that women would largely experience greater impacts on social and economic prospects as a result of reduced income and food security.

He stressed the need for women farmers to be given the needed support to boost food production to ensure food security in the country.

Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, applauded farmers, especially woman farmers, for efforts at ensuring food supplies in the various markets and farms despite the challenges in the COVID-19 era.

She said her outfit would continue to promote the welfare of farmers through improved technology education, opinion sharing, mentoring and award schemes, among others.

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