A lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology says people have lost interest in political promises concerning agriculture.
He attributes this diminished interest to the low patronage of government’s Planting for food and jobs programme.
Planting for food and jobs is the flagship programme of the NPP government for the Agriculture sector. It is expected to revolutionize agriculture in Ghana and create more than 750,000 jobs.
The programme is to be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country and involves the supply of farm resources such including high yielding and improved seedlings to registered farmers.
President Akufo-Addo says government has reduced the prices of fertilizer by 50% to ensure the success of the programme.
The Minister of State in charge of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Dr. Nurah Gyiele, recently said at a meeting in Bolgatanga that his outfit is struggling to register the targeted 200,000 smallholder farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme. He was worried that even though the farming season has already set in, the total number of farmers registered under the programme is not encouraging.
Prof. Simon Fialor says the programme is laudable and could succeed if the government takes certain steps.
He explains that already, successive governments have disappointed farmers with similar policies. The people have therefore lost trust in agricultural programmes introduced by bureaucrats.
“You see, when an enterprise is profitable, people will follow it. One of the most successful Agricultural operations in Ghana was “operation feed yourself”. There was ready market for the excess food that people produced which encouraged people to farm”.
He says however that people are not seeing any changes in their livelihoods with these policies.
He also explains that input subsidies also mostly end up going to already wealthy farmers and not those who really need it.
Prof. Fialor is of the view that the people have not been educated enough to understand the modus operandi of the programme in its entirety.
“Another important point is that the programme’s success (starting from successful registration of participants) rests solidly on the breadth and depth of education and awareness created on the modus operandi of the whole programme before it takes off. For now, that is very very low”, he explains.