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Stakeholders demand answers on ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’

Some of the stakeholders after the event Some of the stakeholders after the event

Some stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called on the government to come clear on the source of funding for the proposed employment of 3,200 extension officers and 1,000 unemployed graduates under its ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.

The stakeholders, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Care International, ActionAid Ghana, SEND Ghana and the West African Network for Peace building (WANEP), said although the programme was laudable, the continuous decline in the allocation for workers’ compensation in the sector would make it impossible to fund the proposed employment of the extension officers and graduates.

They are, therefore, calling on the government to provide enough information on how it intends to fund the employment of the new staff it plans to engage.

This was contained in a report that was launched by these agencies. The report analysed the 2017 National Budget, with the focus on the policies under the food and agriculture sector.

According to the report, there had been a continuous decline of allocations for workers’ compensation in the sector as it decreased from three per cent in 2015 to seven per cent in 2017.

“Inasmuch as this trend is good as it would free up resources to be allocated for the goods and services and capital expenditure (CAPEX), a deeper scrutiny raises issues for concern though,” the report stated.

At the presentation of the report at the National Stakeholders Dialogue on agricultural financing on July 20, the Advocacy Coordinator, Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA) project, Mr Gregory Titigah, said the policy was a step in the right direction because of its potential to absorb the unemployed youth and increase productivity, food security and the nutritional status of families.

However, he said, the decline in compensation in the 2017 budget gave a wrong impression about government’s readiness to engage more extension agents and service persons, given the fact that government solely funds compensation.

“The government should, therefore, come clear on the amount of financial resources needed to execute the policy,” he said.

Promoting sustainable financing

The USAID, in its bid to promote sustainable financing in the agriculture sector, organised a dialogue on agricultural financing to discuss potential strategies to ensure the sustainability of agriculture in the country.

The event was a call to action from an in-depth analysis by the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2017 budgetary allocations and research report on addressing funding gaps in the agriculture sector.

It also served as a platform for key stakeholders in the agricultural sector to discuss research findings and propose recommendations for the government.

The objective of the event was to compile and incorporate the proposed recommendations into the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s 2018-2021 medium-term plan.

The event was organised by the Feed the Future’s NGGA, which is a five-year project, supported by USAID and implemented by a consortium of non-profits, led by Care International and partnered by ActionAid Ghana, SEND Ghana and the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP).

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S government’s global hunger and food security initiative. It supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that would increase income and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. — GB



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