AfDB President Lauds Agric Minister For Reviving Agricultural Sector In Ghana

AfDB President Lauds Agric Minister For Reviving Agricultural Sector In Ghana

AfDB President Lauds Agric Minister For Reviving Agricultural Sector In Ghana

Ridwan Issah Alhassan  |  November 21, 2017

Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto

The Agricultural sector in Ghana has over the past ten months been at the forefront of Ghana's economy after witnessing eight years of decline.

After consistent decline, the agricultural sector recorded a massive growth of 4.3% this year, according to the 2018 Budget Statement presented to Parliament on Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori Atta.

This significant achievement of the sector has largely been attributed to the roll out of the Government's flagship Planting for Food and Jobs campaign.

The campaign was envisioned by the President, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo and initiated by the Sector Minister, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to support smallholder farmers by providing them with subsidized inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, free extension services and ready markets for their produce.

Not only has the programme generated interest from domestic but it has also received international commendations from leading figures, with the latest coming from the President of the African Development Bank(AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

The President of the AfDB, who was delivering his first major public speech after receiving "The World Food Prize Award" in October this year, singled out the Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, for commendation.

Dr. Adesina was addressing participants including Food and Agriculture Ministers from selected countries during the 2017 edition of the SARA Exhibition held in the Ivorian, Abidjan.

The President of the AfDB whose speech highlighted the need for African to adopt technology and mechanization to ensure food security commended the Food and Agriculture Minister of Ghana for his commitment towards tackling food security and improving the socio-economic condition of farmers through the PFJ programme.

According to him, the commitment and dexterity exhibited by the Minister towards arresting the declining fortunes of agriculture in Ghana, deserves to be commended.

"We have gathered here today discussing how to improve the fortunes of agriculture in Ghana and I must commend the Food and Agriculture Minister of Ghana who is here with us," He noted, adding that Hon. Dr. Afriyie Akoto was doing wonderfully well to revive his country's Agriculture with the laudable Planting for Food and Jobs(PFJ) campaign.

As a brainchild of the Minister, the PFJ campaign hinges on five main pillars; provision of improved seeds, fertilizer, extension services, access to marketing and application of ICT in the implementation of the programme.

A successful implementation of the pilot phase of the programme saw a little over 200,000 farmers across the 216 districts benefiting from the huge subsidy offered by government.

Apart from the increase in food production which is likely to reduce the huge bills accrued every year as a result of the importation of basic food items, nearly 800,000 jobs have also been created through direct production and along the value chain

Meanwhile, adequate provision has been made in the 2018 budget to cover half a million as the Ministry seeks to expand the campaign in the coming crop season.

Amongst the strategy, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is encouraging the participation of Chiefs (One Chief, One Farm), educational institutions (Food Farms for Schools), Corporate bodies and the general public through urban and peri-urban farming.

The expansion also forms part of moves by the Ministry to explore fertile and arable lands in the Afram Plains and Fufulso- Sawla Valleys.

Additionally, the Ministry is also set to implement the ambitious Marshall Plan, a comprehensive strategy that seeks address challenges confronting the agricultural sector such as infrastructure, agric financing, agro-processing, agribusiness amongst others.

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