Peasant Farmers Association commends government for increased investment in PFJ

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Pfag on Budget
Pfag on Budget

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has commended the government for increased investment in the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) with a call for quick release of funds for services providers in the agriculture sector.

The call is to avoid a situation of shortage of fertilizer as was experienced in 2021.

Dr Charles Nyaaba, the Head of Programme and Advocacy at PFAG, said the development had serious consequences on the sector development and food security.

Dr Nyaaba told the Ghana News Agency that the PFAG had been involved in the budget process and commended the Ministry of Finance for considering some of the budget inputs made during the call for stakeholder inputs.

“The PFAG also commends the government for efforts to create an electronic database of farmers with the aim of improving targeting, efficiency and transparency in government support programmes such as the fertilizer subsidy programme,” he added.

He said the Association was impressed with the increase in budget allocation to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, especially, a 33 per cent increase in the allocation to the PFJ.

Some other areas of specific interest are: the budget promise to provide appropriate mechanisation services, continue with the distribution of various subsidised farm machinery and equipment to over 150 individual farmers, Farmer-Based Organisations and service providers.

The Head of Programme and Advocacy also commended the government for the intention and urged the Ministry of Finance to release funds timeously for that.

He cited instances where businessmen and politicians hijacked similar interventions, depriving actual beneficiaries from getting the support.

He expressed the hope that there would be more diligence to avoid similar occurrences.

He said the idea to register and create an electronic database of farmers to provide ready access to relevant information such as farm size, digital location, types of crops, yields and market linkages were laudable.

Dr Nyaaba said the ultimate aim was to improve tracking, targeting, efficiency and transparency in public support programmes to the sector.

The database will also have a platform with a feature for tracking fertilizer and seed distribution to reduce malpractices to enable us to extend more support to our farmers.

He said in addition, there was the proposal for the provision of interest rate subsidy to agribusinesses under the “Obatanpa” programme.

The interest rate subsidy intervention will grant a 50 per cent subsidy on Financial Institutions’ interest charges for loans advanced to qualified agribusinesses to secure equipment and expand working capital.

He said the Ministry of Food Agriculture in collaboration with the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending Project and nine selected financial institutions, was working to roll out the interest rate subsidy support.

The proposal although commendable needed more monitoring to ensure objectives of the investment are met and real agribusiness actors that deserve the support are not left out.

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