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Peasant Farmers applauds decision to review Planting for Food and Jobs Programme

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Economics Pfag Workshop
Economics Pfag Workshop

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has applauded the decision of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to review the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme and replace it with the aggregator and outgrower model under the “Enhanced PFJ”.
PFAG said there were proven records of outgrower models that were delivering value for farmers when properly implemented, adding “A value chain approach, which supports mechanisation, extension services, warehousing and marketing services should be aggressively pursued against an approach that focuses mainly on fertilizer and seeds.”
Dr Charles Nyaaba, Executive Director of PFAG gave the applause when he presented the findings of an assessment of experiences of value chain actors during a stakeholders’ validation workshop on the 2022 implementation of the PFJ in Tamale.
The assessment was to provide positive feedback to help improve the PFJ’s implementation going forward.
The assessment found high prices of PFJ fertilizer and seeds in 2022 compelling 85 per cent of respondents to reduce their farm sizes, 89 per cent shifting from the cultivation of food crops to tree crops while 15 per cent abandoned farming completely for non-farm activities.
It also found over 80 per cent of respondents perceiving the PFJ fertilizer and seeds as of inferior quality while only 15 per cent claimed the quality to be good.
The assessment, on whether PFJ should continue or not, found majority wanted the PFJ to be scrapped and proper support system given to farmers, adding “The inability of the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate to hold companies delivering poor quality inputs when evidence is available, led to dwindling interest of farmers on the PFJ inputs.”
It said, “This contributed to escalating food prices for consumers and industry and eventual collapse of over 70 per cent of poultry farms in the country.”
The PFAG, while supporting MoFA to succeed, cautioned it to be watchful of opportunists and corrupt individuals, who could highjack the programme in the name of farmers leading to failure of the project.
Mr Sayibu Morrison, a farmer from Mion District in the Northern Region, throwing more light on the issues, lamented the high cost of PFJ inputs last year and said it limited the farm sizes of most smallholder farmers.
He said “The last year’s situation was unpleasant one. There were no differences in prices between the open market and PFJ fertilizer and yet some companies got paid. Most farmers could not afford the expensive fertilizer and had to reduce their farm sizes.”
Hajia Abiba Baako, a farmer from Saboba District in the Northern Region complained about the inability of farmers in the district to access the PFJ inputs due to bad nature of the roads and refusal of input dealers to travel that far due to low profit margins.
She urged the government to improve the state of roads in rural areas to enable farmers to receive input, and at the right time.
Mr Marifah Abdul, a farmer from Sissala East in the Upper West Region said the quality of inputs under the PFJ should be a matter of concern, as farmers no longer had confidence in any PFJ fertilizer.
He said “Last year, there was PFJ fertilizer everywhere, but farmers were not interested in it due to experiences of poor quality. I hope government will listen to our concerns and do the needful.”
While supporting MoFA to succeed with the Enhanced PFJ, stakeholders during the workshop expressed fears about possible political hijacking of the programme and called for broader stakeholder consultations to develop transparent and efficient models that would deliver optimum results for farmers leading to increased food production and lower prices for consumers.

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