Government is building robust and resilient agricultural systems – Afriyie-Akoto

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Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto
Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto

Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Friday pledged government’s continued commitment to building robust and resilient agricultural systems to maintain national food security.

“We are firmly on that path to building a robust, resilient and equitable food systems that can withstand shocks.  The  evidence of  this  finds expression in Government’s flagship programme; Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), which was launched by the President in 2017,” he said.

“All the five modules of the PFJ are contributing significanty in the national transformational agenda of government. These are  Food Crops Module, the Tree Crops Module, the Livestock Module, Rearing for Food and Jobs, Greenhouse Technology Module, and the Farm Mechanisation Module.”

Dr Afriyie-Akoto gave the reassurance at the 37th Farmers Day celebration at the Adisadel College Park in Cape Coast, on the theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs: Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana,” which honoured 165 farmers and fishers across the country.

The strategic agriculture interventions had the potential to do more in the coming years to better the lives of the people.

Across the modules are underlying core strategies to promote agribusinesses along the value chain to ensure maximum returns  and  job creation for the economy and in a spirit of building a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid.’

He underlined the recent global shortage of fertilisers and the  dramatic rise in the international prices of the commodity due to world market price instability over the last 12 months.

“Since  we import all our fertiliser requirements, our farmers cannot  escape  the consequences on our domestic subsidy programme.
The Ministry, therefore,  encourages farmers to turn to organic fertilisers, which are available locally,” he advised.

The Ministry was also working to  redouble efforts in attracting the Multi-Billion US  Dollars required to invest in a fertiliser manufacturing plant, using the surplus gas find in the offshore explorations, Dr Afriyie-Akoto said.

In furtherance to that supporting agribusiness also meant quality job creation for many, especially the youth, in the promotion of entrepreneurship in  agriculture and wealth creation for entrepreneurs.

In that regard, the Ministry, through the promotion of agribusiness, has transformed the Youth in Agriculture Programme from a non-performing institution to a vibrant one since 2018.

The programme, in  2021, engaged more than 15,000 youth, including young women, through 54 nucleus-outgrower agribusiness  partners,  to cultivate maize and other crops, the Minister said.

The  high yielding  varieties and efficient fertilisers used in the programme more than doubled their yields, resulting  in the indirect engagement of 62,000 additional youth, as grain aggregations, transporters and marketers.

Also,  the programme implemented three Greenhouse projects in the southern and mid-belts of the country.

This resulted  in the creation of various youth jobs and a highly thought-through  arrangement for the trainees to acquire agro-technological skills in Israel, Dr Afriyie-Akoto said.

From 51  and 75 students,  who participated in the 11-month  paid internship in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the programme has  more than doubled student participation.

“I am happy to announce that 200 trainees are embarking on the  Israeli internship this year 2021 alone,” the Minister said.

The increase in the numbers was due to the high reputation gained by the Ghanaian trainees in Israel due to their hard work, discipline and the mentoring arrangements put in place by the Ministry before departure.

“Back from Israel, the trainees are assisted by the Ministry to develop  agribusiness plans and to seek  support for their own private agribusinesses,” he said.

“The  returnees, who arrived this year, are being assisted to develop their own businesses in the Dawhenya and Bawjiase Greenhouse villages for vegetable production.”

The Minister congratulated all farmers and fishers and the Agriculture Development Bank, Exim Bank and Stanbic Bank and partners for their support  towards a good cause.

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