Former deputy minister of agriculture in charge of crops, Dr Alhassan Yakubu is cautioning government to tread cautiously while taking steps to establish a board to oversee the smooth implementation of the Planting for Export and Rural Development, PERD.
Dr Alhassan Yakubu while agreeing with calls for the establishment of a board to supervise the operations of the PERD program told host Austin Ofori Addo during the Rite FM Agric Forum that said it was important to carefully analyze the respective value chains of the tree crops and identify peculiar challenges since every tree crop has its own challenges.
“The impression I get is that there is going to be an umbrella tree crops board to look after the rest of the tree crops,” said Dr Yakubu. “My only concern is that government has to be careful to analyze each tree crop value chain and identify where the board that is going to be constituted will look after.”
The caution from Dr. Yakubu was in response to calls from various stakeholders for the establishment of a supervisory body to oversee the functions of the Planting for Export and Rural Development.
Chief Executive Officer of De Jordans Agro & Investments, Mr. Jordan S. Owusu who first mooted the idea when he appeared as guest on Rite FM’s Agric Forum show in April 2018 explained that the formation of a board to oversee the operations of the PERD program will ensure the efficiency of the program in meeting the aims and goals for which it was formed.
The Hon Deputy Minister of Agriculture In charge Of Horticulture, George Oduro who was excited with the proposal concurred with the suggestion and promised to forward the proposition to the substantive Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto for consideration.
Hon George Oduro in supporting the call compared the idea to the formation of a cotton board to similarly oversee the effective implementation of policies in the cotton industry.
Meanwhile, Dr Alhassan Yakubu, former deputy minister of agriculture under the Mahama administration while comparing the establishment of the board to the COCOBOD which supervises cocoa production in the country said various tree crops such as cocoa, mango, cashew, rubber etc. have their own peculiar challenges which therefore require distinctive supervision.
He observed that peculiar challenges including marketing, promotion, regulations, etc. were common with most tree crops, arguing therefore that putting them under one board will not yield the needed results that farmers are expecting.
He was however quick to add that forming smaller units under a mother the board in the absence of individual boards for the tree crops could similarly serve a similar purpose.
The Planting for Export and Rural Development 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 make sure that sustainable supply of raw materials to support government’s decentralized industrialization drive through the ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative.
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.
According to the Deputy Agric Minister, the purpose of the PERD program is to feed the factories to be constructed under government’s one district, one factory policy, with raw materials for its processing activities all year round.
Eastern Regional Director of Crops, Madam Hajia Habiba Yusif who also was a panelist on the show asserted that the formation of the board will facilitate market avenues for the selected tree crops since government cannot do it alone.
Madam Yusif was hopeful that the formation of the board will help regulate and facilitate issues relating to tree crop production.
She however urged farmers to seek different market avenues for their products.
Source: Prince Paul Amuzu/ Austin Ofori Addo/ www.ritefmonline.org