The General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Edward Kareweh, has cast doubt on the ability of government’s proposed ‘Planting for Food and Job’ program to address the many challenges in the agricultural sector.
According to him, the program is just a “stop-gap” measure which will have short-lived benefits.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Kareweh said the approach by government does not tackle the underlying problems within the sector.
“It takes more than we are just seeing. These measures government is taking; I’ll call them stop gap measures. They are not permanent solution measures. They are not going to take us far. But we can get results within the short-term and then we will all be happy that we have implemented policies and come with results, but these are short-term measures. We need long-term measures.”
“Do we know how much it will cost the government to import fertilizer into this country? Are we thinking about building a fertilizer factory in this country? And how long will it take us?” he quizzed.
He lamented that, the government’s plan of importing fertilizer and improved seeds for distribution to the beneficiary farmers will not help the local economy.
“The unfortunate thing is that, we are going to import seeds, we are importing fertilizer, much of the money will simply go into importing all these things when in actual fact, if they were produced in this country, certainly the multiplier effect of it will be so great. One would not say what we are doing today will not bring benefits, they will bring benefits, but they will be short-lived,” he said.
He further said the elements of the program by the NPP government was not a novelty, especially with the provision of farm inputs and subsidized cost of fertilizer, which he said successive governments have also done without achieving the desired results.
He however urged the NPP government to make considerations for long-term solutions to ensure that relevant gains are made in the agricultural sector.