Government’s flagship initiatives continue to get most industry players excited. One of such is the PERD program which is getting the Chief Executive Officer of the Green Coast Group and Consult Limited talking to Rite news.
Mr. Kwaku Boateng is lauding the government for the flagship initiative, Planting for Export and Rural Development, PERD program which is targeting crops like coconut, shea, mango, cotton and oil palm.
Mr. Kwaku Boateng in lauding the program, paid glowing tribute to the crucial its timeliness.
The program sets out clear strategic action plans to develop seven selected cash crops namely cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, citrus, cotton and shea into cash crops.
The PERD is not only expected to create jobs mostly for the youth and unemployed graduates, but also ensure sustainable supply of raw materials to support government’s decentralized industrialization drive through the ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative.
The Planting for Export and Rural Development is the finest policy ever and I’m in love with the program, he asserted.
The CEO of Green Coast Group and Consult while speaking in an interview with Rite News maintained the value of coconut production
“Coconut production is very lucrative and currently providing employment to a lot of people,” he said. “The initiative will therefore increase the raw materials for sellers because demand is outgrowing supply and so this is one of the best interventions this government has brought on board.”
Mr. Boateng was convinced that the PERD program will make Ghana a top player in the global coconut market, develop the rural areas, empower rural folks who are marginalized and will create a lot of job opportunities especially for the youth.
He was however quick to add that the above can only be achieved if the venture is well implemented by policy makers and the stakeholders.
He appealed to the government to also add technical support to the policy, saying, “The government should not just bring out this initiative but also look at some form of technical support because planting without maintaining is zero work done.”
The CEO who expressed concern over the lack of knowledge of most farmers in terms of good agricultural practices called for the education of farmers.
“Most farmers lack knowledge in terms of good agricultural practices. Value addition is the key and so the public should be educated on the value chain of coconut aside its food and water values since coconut can also be used for crafting doormats, charcoal, active carbons which can encourage big export potentials, products for water purification and the insecticide industry,” Mr. Boateng explained adding that this if done could convince banks to invest in the sector.
The Chief Executive Officer therefore called on the government to as a matter of urgency set up a ‘coconut board’ that will oversee all activities that will run through coconut cultivation in the Planting for Export and Rural Development, PERD.
He said the board should equally be charged with the responsibility of encouraging the formation of associations from the district, regional and the national level.
Mr. Boateng was hopeful that this will help the industry to have a formidable entity capable of influencing government policies and agenda, adding that the crop is a very important cash crop that can compete with cocoa and cashew or even do better than those two crops.
Metropolitan, municipal and Districts assemblies (MMDAs) in selected areas are expected to recruit about 300 youth and unemployed graduates for specific crops in every district, who would be trained as extension agents to support the farmers to develop their farms.
Under this concept, MMDAs are required to develop an agricultural project initiative, taking into consideration one or two of the identified cash crops with a budget that would support 10,000 to 20,000 farmers to cultivate an average of 10 acres of the crops within the next four years.
They would be required to establish seed banks in the various MMDAs that would raise high yielding varieties of seedlings.
The MMDAs are implored to consult with traditional council to recruit about 200 fire volunteers per district to preserve and control the management of fire outbreaks.
Therefore, the assemblies are expected to review and gazette their by-laws governing fire management not later than end of first quarter.
As part of the project, 78 districts have been earmarked for the cultivation of cashew only.
By Austin Ofori Addoemail@example.com