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Business News of Monday, 14 May 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Planting for Food & Jobs to attract 500,000 farmers this year - Nana Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government intends to employ 500,000 farmers in 2018 under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

The President feels the programme has proved to be viable with many farmers showing interest.

Speaking at the London Business School’s Africa Summit, on the theme “Scaling for Impact–the Important role of Industrialization”, the President said he expected the number to double by 2020.

“This year, the programme is embracing 500,000 farmers. Our target is to cover one million farmers by the end of my four-year mandate. The transformation in agriculture productivity and output is becoming evident day by day,” he said.

The Planting for Food and Jobs programme is one of government’s flagship programs aimed at improving agricultural production in the country.

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 is buttressed by five pillars; 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.

The government, this year, disclosed that the first phase of the policy had accounted for the creation of 745,000 jobs.

The sector minister, however, explained that the jobs were created in rural areas and were essentially not taxable and did not contribute to pension funds.

Other milestones under Planting for Food & Jobs

- The Distribution of about 80,000 bags of cereal and legume seeds, 36,000 sachets of vegetable seeds and about 2,000,000 bags of fertilizer

- Recruitment of 822 agricultural extension personnel

- Establishment of a task-force to assess status of warehouses and storage facilities nationwide for rehabilitation

- Creation of market opportunities for farmers by linking them with institutional buyers such as School Feeding Programme and Prisons Service.

- Electronic registration of over 34, 000 farmers out of more than 200,000 manually registered