Deputy national communications officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Malik Basintale, has questioned the impact of some key policies within the agriculture sector by government.
According to him, when it comes to implementation of major policies in the country, one of the sectors that are filled with “rhetoric” is agriculture.
He revealed that for anyone who has skin-deep understanding of activities inherent in agriculture will see government’s latest program of employing some 200,000 youth in agriculture and “simply see a very beautiful policy being inaugurated and clap”.
However, Mr Basintale stated that anyone who understands how these components are put into reality will insist that a lot more needs to be done in that sector.
Justifying his stance, he noted that it is one thing implementing a policy and directing all persons to “channel their arsenals towards its full implementation”, and another thing converting the proceeds of whatever thing has been launched into reality.
“We were in this country when government launched the phase 1 of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy, I understand there’s a phase 2 component. When the phase 1 was launched, people went to [say] the government is doing well, at the end of the day, in that same year, the government declared the Planting for Food and Jobs policy as a success, we were importing rice at a tune of GHC1 billion in this country.
“In that same year, a bag of maize was going for almost GHC600, today, it’s almost a GHC1,000… So, you ask yourself, over GHC10 billion, pushed into Planting for Food and Jobs, of what benefit has it brought to our economy in this country?”Malik Basintale
Mr Basintale noted that government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme is one of such policies which must be weighed based on it’s impact.
He highlighted that as it stands, the prices of commodities in the market keeps skyrocketing, and government instead of addressing the challenge, is “going to implement phase 2 of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy and the people are asking what happened to the phase 1 of the policy?”
“How did it reflect on the economic corridors of this country? Clearly, a lot needs to be done within our agricultural corridors of this country. A lot needs to be done to reflect the reality.
“Enough of the rhetoric, enough of the launching, inaugurations of policies, enough of the sloganeering and all that. We need to see whatever you are launching, reflecting in the reality and pockets of the Ghanaian people. That is what we are asking for.”Malik Basintale
Job creation in agric sector
On his part, Government’s spokesperson on governance and security, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, commended the ministry of agriculture and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) for the youth in agriculture program intended to employ some 200, 000, but beginning with 20,000 next year.
He indicated that government, having an understanding of the relevance of agriculture to the economy of the country is doing its best to see the sector succeed.
“Let me begin by commending the minister for Agric, Dr Bryan Acheampong, together with the CEO of YEA, Kofi Agyapong, for such a remarkable investment in young people in the area of agriculture.
“You’ll recall that agriculture is the beacon of hope and democracy, and one that is able to stir up a striving economy. All around the world, economies have strived at the back bench of a good agriculture plan.”Palgrave Boakye-Danquah
Mr Boakye-Danquah further revealed that to see that 200,000 young people have an opportunity to go into farming and also government ensuring that farming now becomes attractive, is not an “age-old philosophy of bringing farm foods to Ghanaian people, but one that young people can find as an entrepreneurial endeavor to be involved in”.
To this end, he commended the young people and called on them to register for the program once the portals are opened.
“… You should take advantage of this. This is one of the efforts of the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ensure that youth unemployment becomes a thing of the past. We would wish that the stipends and support that they receive, the coaching, guidance that they receive will be able to harness well the desired benefits for this project…”Palgrave Boakye-Danquah