As a result of the gains made under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in the years 2017 and 2018, government has announced plans to scale up and introduce new modules.
They are the ‘Greenhouse Villages programme’, ‘the Planting for Export and Rural Development programme’, ‘the Rearing for Food and Jobs campaign’ and Mechanisation Centres programme.
Speaking at the State of the Union Address, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said, due to the bumper harvest recorded, the country did not import a single grain of maize.
He expressed the hope that the success of the programme would lead to a fundamental change in attitudes towards farming practices and transform the sector.
President Akufo-Addo said to sustain and improve the gains made, the extension services would be expanded to ensure bumper harvests and increased food production.
“The past two years have shown that, when a government takes deliberate measures to support agriculture, it pays healthy dividends,” he said.
“There has been food and for the first time in a long while, we had more than we need. It was not that long ago that Ghana was in the humiliating position of having to import maize from her landlocked Sahelian neighbours and plantain from Cote d’Ivoire.”
“In the 2018, exports of food crops such as cassava, rice, yellow and white maize, soya, plantain, cowpea and yam were made from Ghana to Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire in considerable quantities”.
On Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the President said government has plans to implement a flagship programme called “Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ)” to complement the PFJ initiative to reinvigorate and boost the aquaculture industry.
He said a priority would be given to youth entrepreneurs, distressed farmers, second cycle and, public institutions to set up and operate fish farms across the country.
The programme, President Akufo-Addo said, would offer participating individuals and groups the requisite inputs such as cages, fingerlings, fish feed and training, to be able to establish their own farms.
He said the AFJ would be implemented for three years, from 2019 to 2021, in collaboration with the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) and the School Feeding Programme.
The President said the initiative was expected to create 7,000 jobs and add an extra 33,628 metric tonnes of fish to domestic fish production.
Already, he said, piloting of the AFJ has already started at the James Camp Prison.
With regards to the fishing sector, President Akufo-Addo said, the government would collaborate with the private sector to facilitate the provision of 5,000 outboard motors and 55,250 bales of prescribed fishing gears through the fisheries associations.
To modernize the fisheries sector, he said, a US185 million dollar loan has been earmarked for the construction of 12 landing sites and 2 fishing harbours in some selected fishing communities in the country.
“Phase One will kick off in March at Axim, Mumford, Winneba and Teshie. Recently, I cut the sod to commence work at the Jamestown Harbour Complex, which, like the development of Elmina Fishing Harbour, is part of our plans for the fishing sector in 2019”, he added.