The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has stated that the government has so far spent over US$400 million on its flagship program, the Planting for Food & Jobs (PFJs).
According to MoFA, the expenditure went into subsidies of improved seeds and fertilizers for farmers.
The ministry revealed this in response to comments made by Former President John Dramani Mahama on the state of the flagship program. MoFA refuted claims that the PFJs is an initiative of the previous NDC administration. Also, it described as “false” the allegations that the NDC secured funding from the Canadian Government for its implementation.
“This is completely false. The fact is that the Planting for Food and Jobs is a wholly Government of Ghana (GoG) funded programme”.MoFA
Meanwhile, the Ministry noted that Mr. Mahama has in fact, confused the Modernizing Agriculture Ghana(MAG) program with the PFJs initiative. The ministry clarified that the MAG which involves a US$100M Canadian Grant, is exclusively meant for the expansion of extension services program.
Still drawing the lines, MoFA highlighted that the PFJ involves five major modules. This comprise the Food Crop Model, planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ). The other two are the Greenhouse Villages and the Mechanization for Food and Jobs.
State of Agriculture under Mr. Mahama
“Under the watch of Incompetent Mr. Mahama, the extension sector did not see any staff enforcement for four years. Though the country required about 4000 extension officers to support the over 3.5M farmers, the NPP in 2016, inherited less than 1400 staff capacity. The worst part of this situation was that, 80% of the staff had reached their retirement age and were on their way out”.MoFA
Moreover, MoFA noted that Ghana was importing virtually every food item prior to the implementation of the PFJs. This included thousands of tons of maize, plantain, banana among others from neighboring countries.
According to MoFA, Ghana imported about 113,855 and 79,771 metric tons of maize respectively in 2015 and 2016. Adding that “same could be said of other major staple foods such as yam, plantain and Soyabean”.
Furthermore, the Ministry stated that the status of the country’s agriculture and food security is not as bad as the picture Mr. Mahama painted during his ‘Thank You tour’.
“Ghana is not facing food shortage, PFJ is very much on course!!”MoFA
Instead, MoFA noted that the food situation of the country was so bad under the watch of the Former President. According to the ministry, it was so bad “that farmers could not afford fertilizer for their crops, leading low yields”.
PFJs is a game changer
Moreover, it pointed out that the PFJs therefore, came to reverse this trend. According to the Ministry, by the end of 2017 and mid-2018, Ghana became the hub of food supply in the West African sub-region.
“In fact, in 2017, a total of 81,193 tons of food items including Maize, Yam, Rice, Plantain and Soyabean were exported to neighboring countries. This trend has continued up to now”.
Additionally, MoFA highlighted that the NDC administration under President Mahama had also collapsed the vegetable export business. The Ministry alleged that the ban on Ghana’s vegetable exports to the European Markets was “due to poor standard and supervision”. The ban, according to MoFA, prevented local farmers and exporters from benefitting from the $32-million-dollar vegetable market for six consecutive years.
Meanwhile, the statement indicated that the NPP government adopted prudent measures which led to the eventual lifting of the ban in 2018. Today, farmers and exporters are back to business and are making huge profits from exportation of vegetables to the EU Markets, MoFA said. Adding that “at the same time, improving the country’s export revenue capacity”.