The Minister For Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has allay the fear of purported food insecurity within the country.
He indicated this in a press briefing in Accra on Sunday whiles addressing the media. Mr. Akoto reiterated that his Ministry has the mandate to promote sustainable Agribusiness.
This he said, his Ministry is doing through; Research and Technology Development, Effective extension and other support services to some value chain groups such as; producers, processors, distributors as well as Consumers aimed at improving food security, nutrition and incomes.
As part of the government’s effort ensuring a secured economy, there has been an agenda for engineering food security for the country. The government has resorted to the use of various instruments to enable it achieve food security. Some of these instruments include the Planting for Food and Jobs project.
According to Mr. Akoto, prior to the inception of president Akufo Addo’s flagship Agriculture sector project dubbed; Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in 2017, only 11% of food crop farmers were using improved seeds, 15% of farmers were using fertilizers with a fertiliser application rate of 8kg per Hector as against the world’s average of 130kg/Ha, Extension Officer- Farmer ratio being 1: 1,900 against the UN average of 1 Extension Officer to 500 farmers.
Mr. Akoto also mentioned that, yields of most staple crop varieties like rice, maize and root tubers were between 40-45% of potential yields.
Another worrying issue was the total ban of vegetable exports to Europe for non compliance of UN standards again the rising devastating effect of the Fall Army Worm (FAW) on crops especially maize.
He further stated that all 68 Mechanisation centres were down with to services provided to farmers.
Mr. Akoto hinted the current government has come out with numerous policies aimed at fixing the challenges facing the Agriculture sector of the economy.
According to him, some of the policies outlined by the government include the Planting for Food and Jobs(PFJ), One District one Factory (1D1F) which are being persued through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)
According to him the PJA by its design will amongst others, support the 1D1F agenda of government through the implementation of the following modules:
Food Crop Module
Tree crops Module
Agriculture Mechanisation Services
Mr. Akoto explained further that the current government has a total of 8,980 units of various machinery and equipments were imported and distributed in years 2019& 2020 respectively total beneficiaries composed of 927 made up of 33 District Assemblies and individuals.
PJF made considerable impact on national food supply and food security in spite of the challenges caused by Coronavirus pandemic.
“Government will continue to prioritise Agriculture,provide the necessary support and conducive policy environment to facilitate investment in the sector,” Mr. Akoto assured.
By: Kingsley Asiedu