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Adequate measures in place to avert challenges with PFJ implementation - MoFA

The Ministry Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has said it has put adequate measures in place to avert possible problems farmers may face when the 2018 Planting for Food and Jobs program is rolled out.

The Technical Advisor to the Food and Agriculture Minister, Emmanuel Asante Krobea, said government among other measures increased seeds to be distributed to farmers.

According to him, "we mobilised 4,000 seeds last year for the 2017 Planting For Food and Jobs, but this year, we have mobilised about 9,000 seeds for the PF&J."

He said this at a forum organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) on Monday for stakeholders in the Agric sector including researchers, farmers and technical team from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Reports gathered from PFAG focal persons across the 10 regions indicate that farmers are unhappy about the stress and challenges they go through accessing fertilizer.

Some of the distribution points for fertilizer are either too far from farmers or the type of fertilizer available is not the farmers prefered fertilizer.

In response, MoFA said it is collaborating with 10 private fertilizer distributors to enable farmers to have options where to pick their supply from.

The Ministry said the delay in the distribution of fertilizer has been addressed for the 2018 planting season and PF&J.

On the Fall Army Worm invasion that massively affected farmers last year, the MoFA Technical Advisor said it will never completely go away hence they have put measures in place to mitigate its effect.

The measures taken include educating farmers to know what the Fall Armyworms are as well as the need to report early when detected.

The Ministry assures it is working towards finding natural predators that will feed on the worms as a permanent solution to the invasion.

There were concerns from farmers about the unavailability of a ready market for their produce which leaves them at the losing end every bumper season. The Ministry could only point to One District One Factory as the solution to that problem.

Programmes Officer of the PFAG, Charles Nyaaba, tasked the Ministry to find innovative ways of stemming fertilizer smuggling out of the country.

He indicated there is the need for the Fertilizer Watchdog Committees established by the PFAG to be empowered and connected to security agencies at the regional and district levels to facilitate their work.

This followed an intervention by the Executive Director of the PFAG that there is some political interference in the work of the Watchdog Committee hence, thwarting their efforts.

Prof Joseph Yaro of the Geography Department of the UG who carried some research into the 2017 farming season and challenges farmers faced entreated MoFA to employ periodic markets to resolve challenges in the distribution of inputs to farmers.

The programme organised by Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana is intended to find ways of improving the government fertilizer subsidy programme, Planting for Food and Jobs as well as finding a solution to dealing with the Fall Armyworm invasion.