Farmers under PFJ programme to be expanded

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has instituted measures to expand the current capacity of smallholder famers engaged under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative, sector minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said.

Statistics from the Ministry indicate that currently, there are about 860,000 farmers out of the nearly three million selected onto the PFJ programme.

According to Dr. Owusu Akoto, the ministry is estimating between of 1.1 million to 1.2 million smallholder famers to be incorporated in the PFJ in the quest to expand the initiative. The projected figure represents more than one third of the total number of farmers in the country.

What this implies is that yield productivity is expected to increase considerably should the number of farmers shoot up from 860,000 to the projected 1.2 million, noting that at around 677,000 famers under the PFJ programme in 2018, the State had challenges with managing agriculture crop surpluses.

The surpluses in many crops such as plantain, cassava and yam are evident as they reflected in Ghana’s statistics of food exports to neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and other countries in the sub-region. For instance, in 2018, Ghana exported over 150,000 metric tonnes (MT) of 19 food items including maize, sorghum and soybean.

Under this measure, the agriculture ministry is bent on increasing crop productivity by supplying smallholder famers with improved seeds and fertilizers to augment the initiative. The move is geared towards increasing the production level of smallholder farmers to enable Ghana secure itself in terms of food security as well as export a sizeable quantity to neighbouring countries.

Speaking with the Goldstreet Business during the just ended African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2019, Dr. Owusu Akoto said Ghanaians should expect bumper of food in the next coming years.

“Even if we do not expand the programme further and we decide to focus on the projected number of farmers by making sure their productivity increases, the amount of food that can come into this country, you will have no idea”, he stressed.