Government’s flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) programme is to stimulate enterprises operating along the supply chains of inputs and marketing of outputs to create jobs and develop technical and human capacities.
Mr Yohane Armah Ashitey, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, explained that the programme was meant to overcome food deficits, reduce importation of basic food commodities and increase exports to the neighbouring countries.
“For years Ghana’s, food crops subsector was dominated by smallholder farmers whose cropping practices were characterized by inadequate use of productivity-enhancing technologies, low use of quality seeds and fertilizers and weak market linkages,” Ashitey stated at the Tema Municipal Assembly’s observation of the 2021 Municipal Farmers Day.
The 2021 Farmers’ Day Celebration is on the general theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs: Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana.”
Mr Ashitey told the Ghana News Agency in an interview on the fringes of the event that in response to the challenges in the Agricultural sector, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, initiated the first flagship module– Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) campaign in 2017.
He said the initiative was to motivate farmers to adopt certified seeds and fertilizers and empower the beneficiaries with knowledge and skills to maximize the benefits of used subsidized inputs.
It was also to improve the marketability of the increased food produced under the campaign through strong linkages among producers, aggregators, public institutions, private food and feed enterprises.
Mr Ashitey noted that the initiative also introduced the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for efficient targeting of beneficiaries of the campaign, and increase job opening opportunities as a result of higher levels of productivity.
Describing the initiative as proactive, Mr Ashitey lauded President Akufo-Addo for introducing the programme, which he said improved food security, created employment opportunities and reduced poverty.
Mr Ashitey said it has also ensured immediate and adequate availability of selected food commodities; and provided job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the agriculture and allied sectors.
It has also created general awareness for all formal workers and public institutions to farm and establish backyard gardens.
Meanwhile, Mr George Adams, a 52-year-old building contractor and civil engineer was adjudged the 2021 Tema Metropolitan Overall Best Farmer.
He currently has 700 broilers; 1,000 kroilers; 170 ducks; 30 sheep; 30 domestic fowls; and 17 goats in addition to large acres of onion, okra, and maize.
For his prize, Mr Adams received a cheque of GHC15,000.00, motor-tricycle, wellington boots, wheelbarrow, wax cloth, fertilizer, assorted agrochemicals, cutlasses, and soap.
Other prizes he received included, knapsack sprayer, protective clothing, assorted veterinary drugs, wire mesh, rubber hose, watering can, wheat bran and a radio set.
Eight other persons received awards for various categories during the ceremony, they included Mr David Tetteh and Mr Ali Abubakar who emerged as first and second runners-up respectively.
Mr John Bimock Laari, Madam Baraka Dede Naawu, and Mr Joseph Arthur respectively received acknowledgement as the best crop farmer, livestock farmer, and best in-shore farmer.
The young entrepreneurial farmer went to Mr Iddrisu Mustapha, while Madam Cynthia Komley Adjetey and Madam Sussie Adwoa Asamoah respectively were adjudged best fish processor and best worker.