An assessment carried out in 2017 by the Social Enterprise Fund (SEND) Ghana, a civil society group, has revealed that no data exist to show that most small holder farmers received support under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
Although the initiative is meant to target small holder farmers, a formal interaction between officials of SEND Ghana and some selected farmers in the Eastern corridor and middle belt of the country observed that over 50 percent of them were not aware about the existence of the PFJ programme, thus did not benefit from it.
To bridge the gap, the organization received US$80,000 funding support from Trust Africa – an Independent Foundation for Democracy and Development, to start implementing the Promoting Smallholder Farmers’ inclusion in Agriculture Modernisation (PSFAM) project.
The project was meant to sensitize and educate smallholder farmers in the rural areas on how to access the inputs and facilities available in the PFJ progarmme. The initiative was carried out in partnership with the agriculture directorate in various district in the target areas.
The focus of the sensitization and education process was aimed at getting small holder farmers to participate in the PFJ, benefit from the programme and institute measures to track government’s budgetary allocation to the sector.
This process will in turn enable various stakeholders to be abreast with government’s commitment towards achieving 10 percent of public resources to the agricultural sector to improve productivity.
The PSFAM project started last year and it is billed to end this month, as SEND Ghana has reiterated its commitment to continue organizing such programmes to increase capacity and knowledge of small holder farmers and
Currently, statistics from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicate that over 600,000 farmers have been registered under the programme. The programme was an initiative introduced to increase yields and get more of the youths to get employed in the sector.
It is anchored on five strategic pillars which aime at increasing productivity of food crops, ensure food security, raw materials for industry, reduce food import and increase export.
As at second quarter 2017, government has disbursed GHc365.60 million out of a total of Ghc700 million, representing 52 percent, towards the implementation of the various components of the programme.
By Dundas Whigham