The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says the implementation of the government’s flagship programme ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)’ has been a tremendous success.
He said the PFJ policy, which was introduced by the Government three years ago to address the declining growth of the country’s agricultural sector, has led to the sector’s growth and transformation.
Dr Akoto, who stated this on Tuesday in Accra when he took his turn at the Meet the Press Series to give an account of the state of the nation’s agriculture, reiterated that the PFJ was achieving its objectives.
With regard to challenges facing the agriculture sector, Dr Akoto mentioned smuggling of subsidized inputs such as fertilizers, limited production of improved seeds (hybrid maize, sorghum, groundnuts) and limited budgetary resources to scale up interventions and reach more farmers.
The Minister said statistics are available to show that the tremendous performance of the nation’s agriculture sector. He cited the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) 2019 Global Food Security Index (GFSI), which ranked Ghana 59th out of 113 countries. The country was ranked 73rd ranking out of 113 countries in 2018.
He said according to the EIU’s report, the total performance score improved from 50.9 per cent in 2018 to 68.2 per cent in 2019 – representing 0.3 per cent improvement. The figures, derived from the annual baseline model, indicates that the country recorded key strengths in the presence and quality of food safety net programmes as the planting for food and jobs initiative (scored 100 per cent), change in average food costs (97 per cent), food safety (81.2 per cent), urban absorption capacity (91.2 per cent), volatility of agricultural production (95.5 per cent).
He said the report placed Ghana as third-best in sub-Saharan Africa with South Africa and Botswana scoring first and second respectively in 2019.
Dr Akoto said the report said when it comes to food availability, Ghana placed second to South Africa with a score of 61.7 per cent.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto further indicated that a total number of 1.4 million farmers are expected to benefit from the country