Stakeholders in sustainable development on Wednesday urged the government to design a unique package under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) specifically for women and persons with disability.
They are of the view that such a tailor-made package would help that category of group to benefit from the laudable intervention.
It would make PFJ inclusive, as spelt out in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, which the country had signed on to.
The group explained that, when women received the needed empowerment and support, they are able to contribute immensely to the sustenance, growth and wellbeing of their families.
These views were articulated at a two-day Policy Dialogue Meeting on Community Land Rights and Sustainable Development Goal in Accra.
It was organised by Caritas Ghana, a Charity Organization of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and member of the global Caritas Confederation, and supported by Misereor, Hillfswerk de Katholischen Austria and Caritas Africa.
The meeting, which was on the theme; “Making the SDG Principle of Ensure no One is Left Behind relevant in Ghana,” afforded participants the opportunity to share ideas and make input into public policy in achieving qualitative outcomes in the implementation of the SDGs.
It is also expected to incorporate Caritas Ghana’s Annual Learning and Review Meeting (ALARM) on Land Grabbing, anti-land grabbing advocacy that focusses on promoting community awareness and actions to protect their Land rights and livelihoods.
Mr William Kwasi Sabi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation stated that, the PFJ had increased accessibility of improved planting materials and fertilizer, which had boosted the yield of target crops.
He said under the PFJ in 2018, a total of 270,000 metric tons of subsidized fertilizer and 9,798 certified seeds were procured and subsequently allocated to input outlets located in the farmer communities for distribution.
To sustain the gains government had made in production, Mr Sabi said about 80 warehouses with a total capacity of 80 metric tons were being built across the country, in collaboration with the Ministry of Special Development Initiative.
On farmers’ access to mechanization, he noted that, government was in the process of acquiring a number of tractors, power tillers, planters, crop threshers, combine harvesters, cleaners, irrigation kits, and small farm machinery for farmers.
Mr Sabi said as at October this year, a total of 400 sites had been selected of which 250 had been designed for construction to improve access to water for agriculture production all year round.
The Minister said the issue of fertilizer smuggling and inadequate public sensitization were some of the major challenges the programme was facing and called on all and sundry to support the project to succeed.
Mr Samuel Zan Akologo, Executive Director Secretary of Caritas Ghana said the PFJ programme might be strategic to the achievement of SDG Goal two on Food Security and Nutrition, only if it passed the test of safety valves that ensured that no one was left behind.
He commended the government for diversifying the PFJ programme to include;”Rearing for Food and Jobs,” in the 2019 Budget statement.
“It will even be more important to verify during the implementation of the Rearing for Food and Jobs, how women farmers, who are mainly owners of small ruminants like goats and sheep are covered,” he said.
Commenting on the Voluntary National Review by the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, which Ghana would participate in July 2019, he called on the government to include views from Civil Society Organizations into the final report.