Agric programme created 745,000 jobs last year – Agric Minister

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About 745,000 jobs were created in the agricultural sector value chain under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme last year, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said.

The figure includes the 202,000 farmers who participated in the programme.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture ((MoFA) projected to create 750,000 jobs in the first year of the government’s flagship agriculture policy.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Dr Akoto also indicated that 1,070 graduates of agriculture colleges and 2,160 national service personnel were recruited to support the farmer registration exercise and the work of extension officers.

“The Planting for Food and Jobs has generated substantial demand for labour in the rural areas and helped in improving production,” the minister said.

Job creation was a major promise of the government and it is committed to leveraging the opportunities it is creating in the agriculture sector to employ many of the youth.

“This is just the first year, so you can imagine what is in store for the nation this year when an estimated 500,000 farmers will be engaged in the programme,” the minister added.

According to him, the social impact of the Planting for Food and Jobs had been enormous on the rural economy.

“If the trend continues, there will surely be a reversal of the rural-urban drift in the not-too-distant future,” he stated.

Inputs

Statistics indicate that only about 11 per cent of Ghanaian farmers use improved seeds but, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme wants to change the development by ensuring that every farmer applies improved seeds with the same land size.

Dr Akoto said a total of 44,000 metric tonnes of certified seeds of maize, rice, sorghum and soya bean were supplied to farmers for planting last year.

Additionally, 296,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertiliser were supplied to farmers across the country.

“These, added to improved extension services and other support services, led to increased yields,” the minister said.

For instance, he said, the average yield per maize on beneficiary farms increased from 1.8 metric tonnes in 2016 to 3.0 metric tonnes per hectare in 2017 representing a jump of 43 per cent.

Dr Akoto also said 5,323 hectares of agriculture lands were used to cultivate vegetables such as tomato, onion and pepper which yielded a total production of 45,200 metric tonnes.

-Graphic

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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