By Frank Amponsah
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has affirmed that government’s flagship programme, ‘Planting for Foods and Jobs’ (PFJ), has generated a total of seven hundred andforty five thousand (745,000) jobs in its first year of implementation-a reason his ministry is spiritedly promoting the project.
Addressing a press conference at the Resource Center of the Agriculture Ministry in Accra, the sector Minister explained that typically in Ghana, one farmer cultivates on hectare (2.5 acres) of food crops and that required two (2) farm hands for the entire farm operations.
In 2016, a year before the PFJ was implemented; the Minister said a total of 134,000 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer were distributed to farmers. In 2017, the figure rose to 296,000 MT as a result of the implementation of the PFJ campaign.
This contributed an additional 162,000 MT of fertilizer supplied to beneficiary farmers. According to the Minister, 357,000 hectares is the total area that has been fertilized since the implementation of the PFJ programme.
The Minister indicated that each hectare of the additional cultivated area required the services of two farm hands on full-time basis throughout the farming year. By applying these two hands per hectare for the total additional fertilized area of 357,000 hectares, a total of some 715,000 informal jobs have been generated mostly in the rural sector of the economy by the PFJ campaign.
Dr. Akoto observed that other areas in the commodity value chain where jobs were created included, input distribution and application, post-harvest handling of produce, primary processing and transportation, handling and warehousing as well as marketing. These other activities the Minister says generated 27,000 jobs.
In addition, the formal sector (extension services and farmer registration) created another 3,000 jobs. In all, the sector Minister said a summation of the figures provided shows that the total number of jobs created under the PFJ campaign in 2017 is 745,000 and justifiably so.
Dr. Akoto on the sustainability of the jobs that have been created underscored that farming activity is an annual phenomenon. To that end, as long as farmers who have been engaged through the increase in the additional cultivated areas continue to carry out their farming activities, the created jobs will be sustained.
Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto on 23rd of January, this year, announced that government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme has in its first year alone created some 745,000 jobs.
The Minister said the jobs were created in the areas of input supply and distribution of surplus food birthed from the flagship programme of the Akufo Addo administration. The sector Minister said the government was hoping to create 750,000 jobs by the time the programme is rolled out and is getting close to achieving that feat.