GHANA – Ghana’s cereals and legumes production increased by 707,150 metric tonnes attributed to the flagship programme introduced by the government to promote growth in food production and create jobs across the country.

The campaign, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)’ is a five-year policy geared towards increasing food productivity and ensure food security for the country as well as reduce food import bills to the barest minimum.

Maize seeds distributed under the programme yielded 485,000 metric tons; that of onion came to 11,150 metric tons, pepper 59,920 metric tons and tomato 65,988 metric tons.

In a summit held in Kumasi and attended by policy makers, business leaders, civil society organizations, chiefs and other key stakeholders, the government laid bare its agenda on growth, jobs and prosperity.

The government is enhancing capabilities in the areas of on-farm, extension, inputs distribution, post-harvest handling, warehousing and marketing that has created more than 745,000 jobs.

Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said they made available six types of pesticides to fight the Fall Armyworms that invaded crop fields, last year.

To boost crop yields and returns, the government was going to increase extension support to farmers all in all to transform agriculture and substantially raise its contribution to the country’s economy.

According to him, a total of 216 pick-up vehicles and 3,000 motorbikes would be supplied to the extension officers.

President Akufo-Addo recently announced his government wanted to stop food importation as a well to save on import bills and protect the local industries.

The food programme introduced last year involves the supply of improved seedlings and subsidised fertilizer as well as agricultural extension officers who would guide local farmers.

The first year registered 200,000 farmers nationwide and the scheme was being expanded to cover 500,000 farmers.