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‘Planting For Food and Jobs’ Farms Destroyed

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It’s been reported that farms occupying over 10,000 hectares of land under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) initiative have been destroyed.

The farms which are situated in the Upper West Region had been washed away after spillage of the Bagre Dam from Burkina Faso.

According to a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sagri Bambangi, a significant percentage of crops has been affected.

“We are not happy about the situation. It is not pleasant. The spillage of the Bagre dam we are told is the cause as well as torrential rains over the past two weeks” he said.

Unending trouble

Government’s flagship agriculture programme, PFJs has suffered a series of challenges since its implementation.

The government had initially lost GH¢414,141 after 1,946 farmers in the Wa Municipal Assembly of the Upper West Region defaulted in payment for the inputs and other services provided by the government under the programme.

It had also emerged that some seven officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in the Sunyani Municipality of the Brong Ahafo were under investigation for stealing and smuggling fertilizers and other farm inputs meant for the programme.

The fertilizers which were stolen between November 2017 to June 2018 at the Ministry’s warehouse, were estimated at GH¢600,000.

President Nana Akufo Addo however warned that saboteurs of his government’s flagship agricultural initiative, PFJ, would be dealt with.

Farmlands destroyed

The PFJ which is supposed to modernize agriculture, improve production, and achieve food security while creating jobs for the youth, seems to have made great loses this year.

Although it is to increase the production of maize, rice, soybean and sorghum for current production levels, several hectares of these cereals have been destroyed.

1000 hectares of rice farms, 4600 hectares of maize, 500 hectares of sorghum are said to have been washed away.

The others are; 200 hectares of millet, 200 hectares of groundnut and 200 hectares of cowpea.

PFJ

The programme, rolled out in all 216 districts of the country involves the supply of farm resources such as high-yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.

The Planting for Food and Jobs policy focuses on five main pillars including the supply of improved seeds to farmers at subsidized prices, the supply of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices, free extension services to farmers, marketing opportunities for produce after harvest, and E-Agriculture.

The programme was envisioned to absorb unemployed youth in rural areas, with the government initially targeting the creation of 750,000 jobs in its first phase.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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