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Business News of Monday, 21 January 2019


Minister honoured for reviving agriculture

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto displaying his award Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto displaying his award

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has been honoured for spearheading the revival of agriculture in the country.

Dr. Afriyie Akoto, who holds Phd in Agric Economics from the University of Cambridge, England, was recognized by the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana for successfully supervising the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PJF) programme of the NPP government.

Experts say the implementation of the programme is yielding positive results for the country.

During a short presentation ceremony at his office in Accra on Friday, the minister was given a citation, which read: “For revolution, they say, comes in small forms. Planting for Food and Jobs is recognized as the most outstanding programme, given its importance in Ghana’s economy.”

“The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana therefore awards PFJ for such euphoria, excitement and unparalleled coverage and prospects in the industry.”

The minister dedicated the award to staff of the ministry and all hardworking farmers in the country.

Last week, a French weekly ‘Agri News’ related to Africa commended the minister highly for changing the direction of agriculture in Ghana.

“The agricultural situation is improving considerably as Ghana becomes exporter in the sub-region again. The results are linked to proper PFJ roll out.”

Before Dr Afriyie Akoto was appointed to head the ministry in early 2017 by President Akufo-Addo, the growth rate in the sector was hovering around 3.0 percent, but the careful implementation of policies and programmes ensured the sector recorded an impressive 8.4 percent in 2017 with the 2018 figures yet to be released.

The PFJ policy is built on five major pillars and it includes the supply of improved seeds to farmers at subsidized prices (50% subsidy), supply of fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices (50% price cut), free extension services to farmers (1,200 extension officers from the five main agric colleges already enrolled onto the programme, as well as additional 4,000 extension assistants to be mobilized.

The government is also ensuring that there is marketing opportunities for produce after harvest and e-Agriculture, a technological platform to monitor and track activities and progress of farmers through a database system.

The major crops for the initial pilot phase are maize, rice, soybeans, sorghum and tomato, onion and chili pepper.