Government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs has in its first year of implementation produced a total crop value of GH¢1.2 billion. According to the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the figure realised was as a result of the use of labour, improved seeds and fertilisers combined with increased extension service delivery in the production of an additional 485,000 MT of maize; 179,000 MT of rice; and 45,200 MT of vegetables.
Additionally, a total of 745,000 jobs, mainly in the rural economy, were created in 2017.
“The basis of our achievement in the area of job creation was on account of the quantity of additional inputs (improved seed and fertilisers) supplied to participating farmers in 2017,” the Minister of Agriculture noted.
The number of jobs created, according to the Minister, is based on the premise that typically in Ghana, one farmer cultivates one hectare (2.5 acres) of food crops and requires two farmhands for the entire farm operations, from planting to harvesting.
He explained that in 2016 (a year before PFJ was implemented) a total of 134,000 MT of fertiliser were distributed to farmers. In 2017, this figure rose to 296,000 MT, as a result of the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign.
The additional 162,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser supplies utilised under the period of review, according to the Minister, brought the total fertilised area to some 357,000 hectares in the 2017 planting season.
“Each hectare of the additional cultivated area required the services of two farmhands on full-time basis throughout the farming year. Hence by applying these two farmhands per hectare for the total additional fertilised area (357,000 hectares), a total of some 715,000 informal jobs were generated in the rural sector of the economy by the PFJ campaign”.
The Minister has thus described the piloting of the programme as a “success story worth telling”.
He is optimistic the programme is on course to deliver on its objectives of transforming the Ghanaian economy and delivering the needed jobs.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign in Goaso in April 2017.
The objectives of the campaign are, among others, to ensure immediate and adequate availability of food and to provide the raw material base in the country through improved productivity and intensification of targeted support to private sector service providers, and to provide job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the agricultural sector.