Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says government seeks to create about 750,000 direct and indirect jobs with the yet-to-be launched ‘planting for food and jobs campaign initiative.
Delivering the 2017 budget statement in Parliament today [Thursday], Mr. Ofori-Atta said government will also continue the fertilizer subsidy programme, by distributing about 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer for 2017 alone. He said government will ensure that going forward; one export commodity will be developed in every district of the country.
“The government recognizes agriculture as the main anchor of the country’s economy.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed a steady decline in the sector, and production levels have fallen consistent over the years.” In the medium-term, we intend to modernize the sector to improve productivity and achieve food security and profitability for our farmers.
In 2017, government will launch the planting for food and jobs campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage all citizens both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full part-time activity. It is intended to be structured along the lines of the erstwhile operation feed yourself programme in the 1970s. The campaign will involve the production of maize, rice, soybean, sorghum and vegetables.
Other crops will be adopted in subsequent years.” “The campaign will be anchored on five pillars namely provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing, E-agriculture and monitoring.
This initiative is expected to increase the production of maize by 30%, rice by 49%, and soybean by 25% and sorghum by 28%. This will create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment.
The Ministry will import improved seeds to augment and shortfall for the planting for food campaign.” Fertilizer subsidy The Finance Minister also noted that, “In 2017, the fertilizer subsidy programme will be continued to help increase the productivity of our famers.
To this effect, we intend to distribute nationwide, an expected 180,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer.”
Fishery On fisheries the Finance Minister said, “The fishery sub-sector Mr. Speaker the fisheries subsector employs a significant number of our people especially along the coastal areas. Over the past years efforts have been made to also boost inland fishing and support aquaculture development.
However we believe that we need to modernize the artisanal fishing methods to ensure sustainable fishing and also improve production level.”
He said government will modernize and transform the industry, by completing the phase one of the Anomabo Fisheries College to enhance research and knowledge-base in fisheries technology for all operators.
“It will also collaborate with relevant institutions and the private sector to develop modern landing sites and storage facilities at James Town, Cape Coast, Axim and Mumford” he added.