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‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ under threat

Dr Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture Dr Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture

The Parliament’s Select Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs has indicated that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture may not be able to carry out its “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme if the Ministry of Finance goes on with its planned directive to have the Ministry’s arrears of GH₵ 182.81 million debt paid from its 2017 budget allocation.

The Committee has therefore advised the Ministry of Finance to have a second look at the issue of the debt clearance and come to an appreciable means of solving the problem.

This was revealed in its report on the budget estimates for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

It noted that MoFA had a huge carry on debt of GH₵ 182.81 million which was incurred due to inadequate budgetary allocation to the sector over the years.

The Ministry of Finance initially agreed to defray 20 per cent of the debt in the 2017 fiscal year, however, a letter from the ministry has directed that all the arrears should be paid from the 2017 allocation of GH₵ 759.68 million.

It said if the Planting for Food and Jobs programme would succeed, then MoFA should be adequately resourced.

Planting for Food and Jobs

The Planting for Food and Jobs campaign is being designed by MoFA to encourage all citizens (both urban and rural) to take up farming as a full or part time activity.

It is intended to to structure it 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, while other crops will be adopted in the subsequent year.

The campaign will be anchored on five pillars namely: provision of improved seeds; supply of fertilisers; provision of dedicated extension services; marketing and e-Agriculture and monitoring.

It is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent, rice by 49 per cent, soybeans by 25 per cent and sorghum by 28 per cent from current production levels.

This is also expected to create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment.

Budget allocation

For the 2017 fiscal year, MoFA has been allocated an amount of GH¢ 759.68 million to implement its planned programme and projects.

The allocation is comprised of a Government of Ghana (GoG) component of GH¢ 246.38 million, a donor element of GH¢ 372.62, an Internally Generated Fund (IGF) of GH¢ 2.46 million and an Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) of GH¢ 138.21 million.

Out of the amount, GH¢ 54 million is expected to be used for wages and salaries, GH¢456 million for goods and services, and GH¢ 249.7 million for CAPEX.

Activities for 2017

 

In 2017, about 100 livestock farmers from Eastern, Central and Western regions will be supported with 500 small ruminants of superior breed quality.

To further strengthen and widen access to credit by actors along the agriculture value chain, the government is setting up the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) aimed at employing a holistic approach to address the challenges.

The ministry will also continue with the fertilizer subsidy programmes nationwide to help increase the productivity of farmers.

Source:  Graphic online.com

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