In addressing the challenge of adequate food storage for agriculture produce in the country, government in 2019 is expected to increase the country warehousing storage capacity by about 80,000 metric tonnes, the Minister for finance, Ken Ofori Atta has revealed.
Currently the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has an installed warehouse storage capacity of about 35,000 tonnes. However, MOFA earlier this year indicated that it would increase its warehouse storage capacity to 200,000 tonnes.
Outlining the 2019 budget statement and economic policy of government, dubbed; “A Stronger Economy for Jobs and Prosperity”, the Minister said, “we must address to avoid a situation where the increased agricultural production arising from our support to farmers ends up going to waste.”
Following the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), government further implemented an expanded version of the PFJ in 2018. Compared with a target of 500,000 farmers, a total of 577,000 farmers were supplied with subsidised fertilisers and seeds for the 2018 cropping season.
In 2019, government plans to expand the PFJ program to cover a million farmers, which is expected to increase food production of the country.
In 2019, government is expected to launch the livestock model of Planting for Food and Jobs called “Rearing for Food and Jobs” (RFJ). This is with the objective of increasing the production of selected livestock, especially poultry.
Currently, about 70 percent of the cost of production for the poultry sector in the country coming from feed, which in turn is primarily determined by the cost and availability of maize and soya bean.
To this end, the Minister stated that, MOFA is working on a programme to sustainably boost soybean production in the country through the provision of improved and certified seeds, subsidized fertilizers and harvest equipment to reduce field losses.
Revamping of agric. sector
As part of government’s strategy to revamp the agricultural sector, it would also place focus on the tree crop subsector.
The Minister announced that cabinet has approved the formation of a Tree Crop Development Authority (GTCDA) to regulate and create a favourable environment for the growth and development of that sector.
The Authority will initially regulate the cashew, shea nut butter, oil palm and rubber crop sub-sectors in Ghana with other tree crops added as and when necessary.
A technical committee constituted to lead this process, has commenced work and is expected to submit a draft bill for Parliament’s consideration at the end of the 1st quarter 2019.
By Joshua W. Amlanu