The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is in a process of recruiting 2,700 extension officers to augment the activities of farmers in the country, Press Secretary to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Ridwan Issah, has said.
The move is in fulfilment of paragraph 389 of the 2018 Budget statement where cabinet has given approval for the recruitment of 2,700 extension officers to support government’s flagship Agriculture program, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The shortage of extension officers in the farming sector is adversely affecting the effective and efficient discharge of core responsibilities of the Agricultural directorate in carrying out its mandatory duties as it is handicapped in reaching out to all of its operational areas.
The employment of the Extension Officers is expected to boost the discharge of extension services in the country.
Mr. Ridwan was speaking on the Rite Morning Ride in response to the dire shortage of extension officers across all districts in the country.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture currently employs some 1600 extension officers in the delivery of extension services, with 80 per cent of that number due for retirement within the next three years.
A critical assessment of the situation estimates that some 4,400 extension officers are needed to effectively discharge extension services to farmers.
Meanwhile, verification and orientation, Mr. Ridwan Issah said, are the only processes left for the officers to go through ahead of their recruitment.
The Press Secretary alluded to the importance of extension officers if food security which remains one of the 17 global goals of the United Nations, must be achieved in the West African country, Ghana.
“The role of the extension officer is very key in food sustainability and security as they serve as liaisons between the researchers, government, other stakeholders and the farmers,” he told seat-in-host of the Rite Morning Ride, Omanba Kodwo Boafo.
As part of government’s commitment to developing the agricultural sector, it has procured and distributed two hundred and sixteen (216) pickups for the various district agric directorates nationwide for effective and efficient monitoring.
Mr. Issah noted that 3,000 motor bikes are currently undergoing registration at the DVLA for distribution to extension officers to ease their work.
The employment of the officers is expected to serve as a resolution to the limited extension officer situation confronting farmers and further facilitate Ghana’s discharge from certain International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions.
The lack of extension officers is a common challenge in several districts of the country.
Farmers in the country have severally complained about the lack of extension officers in their respective farming communities. Where the officers are found, their operations cover a few number of farmers leaving a large number of farmers unattended to.
It is estimated that there are about 5,000 extension officers who have graduated from the five Colleges of Agriculture but are unemployed due to pressure on the public sector payroll.
Source: Prince Paul Amuzufirstname.lastname@example.org