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Business News of Monday, 5 February 2018

Source: citifmonline.com

745,000 ‘Planting for Food’ jobs are full-time – Agric Ministry

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says the 745,000 jobs which have been created under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme are full-time employment ventures.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, a deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, George Oduro said many of those employed under the programme help with a number of farming activities including the tilling of lands and the harvesting of crops.

“…This is [a] full-time job. You start from land preparation until harvesting…These are not jobs that you go for interviews,” he added.

The deputy Minister’s comments follow suggestions the 745,000 jobs government claims to have created under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme were rather short-term ventures that would end after a few months. Some critics have suggested that these ventures should be classified as “activities and not jobs” as they are not sustainable for the entire year.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Akoto Afriyie, who first made the announcement said most of the jobs which had been created were “unofficial jobs” and not subject to taxation.

“… the Planting for Food and Jobs campaign has absorbed this [rural] labour to the extent that we targeted 750,000 rural labour and we were able to generate 745,000 jobs and these jobs are unofficial jobs. They are not pensionable, they are not tax deductible so you cannot actually measure it like those in the formal sector where you re-registered, you are paid a wage, you have to pay tax and so on and therefore, it is very easy to monitor.”

But some observers including the Member of Parliament for the Keta constituency, Richard Quarshigah, have called on the Agric Ministry to provide clearer details on the jobs created.

“If you have created [745,000] jobs, you must have some tangibilities to that effect. You are not giving us any figures. You are not telling us the number of jobs that were created within the various sectors within the value chain,” the NDC MP told Citi News.

But defending the numbers, the Deputy Agric Minister said per the programme, each farmer is required to have two helping hands for every hector of land cultivated, adding that those engaged will help the farmers throughout the year.

“They do it from the land preparation up to harvesting. You know the farmer will need these two hands to help with the weeding, harvesting and then to the marketing sector. So when you start an acre of a land preparation, it will take you about a month, after that you do the planting, after the planting you will be doing the weeding, then you apply fertilizer and then you do the harvesting.”

“So all these processes will take you through the year until after harvesting. It’s a yearlong programme; it’s not about one day or two days matter. And they [helping hands] are not there just to apply fertilizer, no; they will be doing everything up to harvesting. One hector is 2.5 acres. It’s a vast land. So two people as helping hands with a farmer will be helpful,” he added.