Government is in the process of establishing a board for the production of tree crops for its flagship programe, Planting for Export and Rural Development, PERD, Director of crops at the Ministry Of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr. Seth Osei Akoto has disclosed.
The crop director while regretting government’s inability to establish a board for each tree crop due to the lack of adequate resources said the situation was so despite the several potentials to be exploited from various tree crops such as mango, cashew, rubber etc.
Mr. Osei Akoto who disclosed this in an interview with Austin Offori Addo during Rite FM’s Agric Forum however noted that consultations were currently underway with the various Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) with focus on tree crops production to solicit their views towards the formation of the PERD board.
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.
Mr. Osei Akoto said the situation has thus compelled government to establish a board to harmonize all tree crops under one umbrella.
Membership of the board, he disclosed, will comprise of stakeholders from the private sector who will play a dominant role on the board while government plays a supportive role including the provision of resources for the smooth running of the board.
This, he said is intended to ensure the smooth operations of the board to ensure that it delivers effectively and efficiently on its responsibilities including regulating and developing the tree crops industry.
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.
By: Prince Paul Amuzu/Austin Ofori Addo/www.ritefmonline.org