Knowing the positive impact of the agricultural sector on the economy, the Government of Ghana has allocated GH¢660 million to promote the flagship of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative for the 2023 implementation year.
The amount awarded by government represents an increase from the GH¢614million spent in the 2022 planting season, constituting a 7.5 percent jump compared to the 39.8 percent, that is GH¢439million rise recorded in 2021.
Out of the allocated amount this year, GH¢53million indicating 8.07 percent has been earmarked for capital expenditure, with the remaining 90.3 percent allocated for goods and services expected to finance subsidies for seeds, fertilizer and other initiatives under the program.
The PFJ allocation has seen a consistent increase since 2020 after a 45.71 percent decline in 2019, rising from GH¢380million in 2019 to GH¢660million in 2023 with a target of 1.5 million farmers.
The increase in the allocated amount by 7.5 percent in 2023 is expected to have a corresponding increase in the number of targeted beneficiaries, and also help clear all outstanding debts owed to input suppliers among others.
The allocation of GH¢660million this year constitutes about 30 percent of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (MoFA) total budget allocation of GH¢2.1billion for 2023.
The sector’s entire allocation in 2023 increased by 95.19 percent from the GH¢1.1billion last year.
Government doubled its effort to increase this year’s amount to promote food security and immediate availability of selected food crops on the market, boost local production, create job opportunities for its citizens, adopt the use of organic fertiliser while facilitating the establishment and expansion of local organic fertiliser production plants.
PFAG Urges Government To Treat Concerns Of Farmers With Urgency
Bemoaning the current unpleasant situation surrounding the Agricultural sector, The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) disclosed that despite the acceptance of the proposal of investing in local production and enhancing organic fertilizers, they are not enough to address concerns of farmers ahead of the 2023 planting season.
While expressing their gratitude to the government for the increased investment in PFJ, PFAG called for quick release of funds for service providers such as fertilizers importers and seed suppliers to avoid the kind of shortages experienced in 2021 and 2022.
Dr. Charles Nyaaba, the Association’s Executive Secretary explained some of the factors that led to serious consequences for the sector’s development and food security.
According to the Executive Secretary, credible inputs companies have declined participating in the PFJ, leading to farmers being short-changed with poor quality inputs.
“This has led to a woeful loss of value for money for the Ghanaian taxpayer, as many farmers prefer to buy quality inputs on the open market. We hope these challenges do not continue in 2023.”Dr. Charles Nyaaba
Also, the PFAG mentioned that monitoring of input supplies under PFJ raised questions over the quality of fertiliser and seeds being supplied to farmers.