On Monday 28th August, 2023 the he President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II (PFJ2.0) to consolidate the gains made since the first phase launched in 2017.
The initiative, PFJ 2.0, anchored on an Input Credit System, will provide affordable and timely credit specifically designed to meet the needs of farmers.
During the event, the President said the first phase launched in 2017 benefited over 2.7 million farmers and other value chain actors across the country, under five broad modules – food crops; tree crops, also known as the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Horticulture,livestock sector, known as Rearing for Food and Jobs and;mechanization, under which the government sought to reduce drudgery in farming, partly through the establishment of Agriculture Mechanization Centers throughout the country.
He outlined the significant successes under these modules, including a relatively stable food security environment with food self-sufficiency in major food staples such as maize, cassava, and yam, have been recorded albeit with some challenges. Over the last six years of the program, there has also been an increased agricultural sector growth rate, from 2.7 percent in 2016 to an average of 6.3 percent from 2017 to 2021, and an improvement of nearly 50 percent in rice self-sufficiency in 2022, from 29.1 percent in 2016.
Other achievements of the first phase of PFJ are an increased fertiliser application rate from 8 kg/ha in 2016 to 25 kg/ha in 2022; increased distribution of certified seeds from 2,000 MT in 2016 to 36,000 MT in 2022 with increased private sector investment in the seed industry and; enhanced extension service delivery with the recruitment of 2,700 AEAs in 2018, among others.
“The success of the PFJ Phase II hinged on the total commitment of all, particularly the private sector first and foremost,” he said.
“The PFJ 2.0 is evident of the enabling environment government plans to use to make the private sector flourish. I therefore urge all value chain actors of the commodities under the PFJ Phase II, to up their game and take advantage of the opportunities created under the programme,” the President added.
He assured Ghanaians that, the will invest in capacity building and extension services, equipping our farmers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively utilize the inputs and implement improved farming practices.
He further gave the assurance that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms would be put in place to track the impact of the system, “allowing us to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve its effectiveness.”
The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Shani Alhassan Shaibu in his welcome address indicated that the region has reaped a lot of dividends, attracting countless high profile visits, engagements, investments and of course very high level events.
He harnessed the opportunity to render the profound gratitude on behalf of the Chiefs and People of the Northern Region to H.E. the President for that landmark edifice together with the Tamale Interchange.
He was optimistic that, Northern Region is a direct beneficiary of the first phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs in such major crops like maize, rice soya bean from such support as supply of farm input, Agriculture extension service, improved technology and market linkage.
“In 2022 we produced 240,860 metric tons of maize, 269, 737 metric tons of rice and 2,141,062 metric tons of yam making us a real food basket of this country,” he stated.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Bryan Acheampong opined that knowing the enormity of work within the ministry, when he was given the task, “I hit the ground running with the immediate task of taking stock of the state of affairs in the sector particularly the implementation of government’s flagship programme PFJ”.
He said a thorough analysis of available data revealed that there were still huge gaps to be covered in the agricultural sector to unlock its full potential.
The minister stated that, “Among others, the gaps identified manifested in the production of some food crops, animal production, extension services, agriculture infrastructure and food self-sufficiency. In addition, issues of inefficiencies, post-harvest losses, Agric financing, poor agronomic practices and low adoption of technology were identified,”
He added that, the outcome of the review exercise highlighted the need for a change in strategy to tackle the problems in the agricultural sector decisively, “and this gave birth to the Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II”.
The Chief of Zangbalin, Naa Dr Jacob Mahama, who read the speech on behalf of the Overlord of Dagbon, Ndan Ya-Na Abukari II, pledged his unflinching commitment towards the successful implementation of the project.
He called on the people of dagbon and region at large to embrace the programme meant to give employment to them in order to reduce rural poverty and improve upon the standard of living of the people.