GHANA – The Government is to allocate warehouses to off-takers of the planting for food and jobs programme to enable them to stock excess food during the bumper season.
The old warehouses which belonged to the COCOBOD had been leased by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and were being renovated and fitted with the necessary equipment to facilitate food storage.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, announced this at a meeting with the off-takers in Accra and hinted that some of the farmers were ready to start harvesting their produce.
He said the off-takers were to purchase the foodstuff directly from the farmers and resell to the secretariat for onward distribution to the ministries of Education, Gender and Health for the hospitals, senior high schools (SHSs) and the school feeding programme among other institutions.
Dr Akoto said currently, the government was concentrating on five crops, which are maize, rice, sorghum, soya beans and vegetables.
He said the planting for food and jobs programme was expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent; rice by 49 per cent; soya beans by 25 per cent and sorghum by 28 per cent, from current production levels.
Dr Akoto added that the programme would also create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment and would among others, encourage the youth to desist from migrating elsewhere in search of non-existent jobs.
Dr Akoto said all the necessary measures had been put in place to guarantee the success of the programme, adding that for instance, the government had reduced the prices of fertiliser by 50 per cent.
He said the government would also engage graduates from the various colleges of Agriculture on the programme.
“Government intends to construct a 1,000 metric ton capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts,” Dr Akoto said.
The planting for food and jobs programme is expected to be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country and will involve, among other initiatives, the supply of high yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.
Interested farmers are also to be provided with other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertiliser at reduced prices.
The programme, according to the government, would also motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet and beans.
August 15, 2017: Graphic Online