Ghana’s cereals and legumes production increased by 707,150 metric tons following the introduction of the government’s flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)” programme.
Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), who announced this, said maize seeds distributed under the programme yielded 485,000 metric tons.
That of onion came to 11,150 metric tons, pepper – 59,920 metric tons and tomato – 65,988 metric tons.
He gave the figure at the two-day national policy summit held in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital.
The programme, a baby of the Information Ministry, was under the theme “Assessing the growth, jobs and prosperity agenda”.
It provided the platform to tell the government’s story – the state of the economy it inherited, the progress made and the direction it was taking the nation.
The summit brought together policymakers, business leaders, civil society organizations, chiefs and other key stakeholders to exhaustively discuss important national policies to deepen public understanding and to give feedback to the government.
Dr Nurah told the gathering that in excess of 745,000 jobs were created under programme.
These were in the areas of on-farm, extension, inputs distribution, post-harvest handling, warehousing and marketing.
The Minister said they made available six types of pesticides to fight the Fall Armyworms that invaded crop fields, last year.
The measure proved effective as it helped to radically neutralize the pest attack, he added.
Dr Nurah said there was going to be increased extension support to farmers to boost crop yield and returns.
They would recruit more graduates under the Nation Builders’ Corps (NABCO) alongside permanent employment of extension officers to transform agriculture and substantially raise its contribution to the country’s economy.
He said a total of 216 pick-up vehicles and 3,000 motorbikes would be supplied to the officers, to effectively function.
Earlier, the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Attah, underlined the government’s unswerving determination to build an economy that worked for every Ghanaian.
They would create an economic environment that allowed everybody to thrive.
He labelled the gains made in the last 18 months as amazing and expressed optimism that putting “Ghana beyond aid” could be within reach.
Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister, urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to go after the “big boys”.
There was a need to carry out a proper audit of the mining firms to make sure that they paid the right tax.