The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) says it is capitalising on the gains of the Government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme to ensure food security and wealth creation for all.
Data available from the Ministry shows that by the second year of the PFJ implementation, Ghana recorded 1,510,330 metric tonnes in food, accounting for a value of food produced at GHS 3,426,983,000.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, at the launch of this year’s farmers’ day celebration, said the Government had spent GHC 2.6 billion on PFJ in the last five years on subsidies on improved seeds and fertiliser.
“If you convert this at the exchange rate existing at the time, it should be about $450 million. If you multiply the prices with the quantities, this $2.6 billion investment generated GHS50 billion worth of farm produce for this country,” he said.
The Ministry said it is, therefore, making a strategic effort to process staples lost to post-harvest by supplying the raw material needs of companies under the One District-One Factory (1D1F) and other processing companies.
That is to support local industries’ growth and help ease the current economic hardship the country is going through, while ensuring that there was enough food for the citizenry, Mr Robert Patrick Ankobeah, the Chief Director of MoFA said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of a donation in Accra towards the 2022 national farmers’ day celebration.
The donation of an amount of GHS30,000 was done by the Ghana Chamber of Mines for this year’s celebration, which is on the theme: “Accelerating agricultural development through value addition”.
Mr Ankobeah said since the implementation of the PFJ programme, Ghana had scaled up its food production through subsidies on fertilisers, improved seeds, extension services and the introduction of modern technologies.
“We, therefore, want to move from primary production to processing and support industrialisation by ensuring adequate supply of raw materials, including maize, rice, soybean, sorghum and vegetables, to factories for value addition,” he said.
He explained that Ghana had recorded surplus in some of its staples but suffered post-harvest losses with people from neighbouring countries – Burkina, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Benin – also buying some of the produce, putting Ghana’s food security under threat.
That, together with the twin forces of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the Chief Director said required a strategic action to “reduce the importation of food and make up for our food needs locally”.
“Therefore, we want to ensure that we don’t only consume our produce but add value to them, get more money and create more jobs for people and combat post-harvest losses,” Mr Ankobeah said.
He called for enhanced private sector participation and partnership to increase investment and funding in the agriculture value chain, including production, agribusiness and food processing.
He also asked for stronger partnership with the Chamber of Mines to support the Government’s effort in combating illegal mining (galamsey).
He said that would help to protect Ghana’s agricultural lands and water bodies being depleted by activities of illegal mining (galamsey) and safeguard people’s livelihood.
Mr Ankobeah expressed appreciation to the Chamber for the donation and said it would help support the organisation of the celebration and other programmes of the Ministry, noting that “the Government cannot do it all alone”.
Dr Afriyie Akoto, at a forum in Accra to discuss practical actions to support industrial development this week, called on banks to provide the needed financial support to develop the agriculture sector, particularly, industries.
He said a proposal for legislation requiring commercial banks to increase loanable funds to agriculture had been sent to Cabinet, and when approved, would see banks earmark at least 20 per cent of their loans into the agriculture sector.