Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has revealed that government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, has achieved major agricultural advances in the country.
According to him, the increase in the production of basic foodstuff shows the programme has been a success. He indicated that grains such as rice has progressed from 687,700 to 1.07 million metric tonne representing an increase of 56%, while soya has made an increase from 143,200 metric tonne to 221,400, representing an increase of 55%.
“The PFJ programme has achieved major agricultural advances in Ghana. Comparing yield levels of maize, rice and soya with those before the start of the PFJ programme in 2016, demonstrates striking results; maize production increased from 1.72 million metric tonnes (MT) to 3.58 million MT (representing an increase of 108%)…”Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
Speaking at a Science and Partnerships for Agriculture Conference in Ghana, organised by the Agricultural Research in Africa, Dr Afriyie Akoto stated that over the same period, yields increased by 38%, 13% and 4% for maize, rice and soya beans respectively. With this, he expressed the need for government to do more to increase yields in the country.
“It is however important to state that these yields are still 40% below the estimated potential, and more has to be done to continue increasing the yields of smallholder farmers in particular.”Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto
His comments followed the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana critique of some aspects of the implementation of the programme, blaming it for the high foodstuff prices in markets across the country.
It will be recalled that Dr Afriyie Akoto, in June this year, scored the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy a 100%. He explained that the impact of the policy on Ghana’s agricultural sector has been astounding and he’s hopeful the policy will continue yielding phenomenal results in the coming years.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Speaking on the theme: ‘Introspection on Climate Smart Agriculture Action to Strengthen Accountability, Resource Use and Impact in Africa’, the Assistant Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel, revealed that his outfit is implementing two new strategies to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved within the stipulated time.
He highlighted that FAO’s strategic framework that will guide its work in the next 10 years aims to support member states in their effort to deal with climate change adaptation and mitigation of agronomic systems.
“The framework is encapsulated in FAO’s four aspirations namely; better production, better nutrition, better and environment and better livelihoods to leave no one behind.”Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel
To achieve this, Dr Haile-Gabriel emphasized that the new strategies are particularly relevant for the deliberations of climate smart agriculture. The first strategy, he noted, is on climate change.
“The second is the technology and innovation strategy that aims to strengthen the use of innovation in any FAO’s intervention and guidance including climate action.”Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel
The programme seeks to address key issues in Africa’s agriculture sector with a focus on climate change, technology and innovation.