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Don't just double numbers of farmers - Gov't advised over Planting for Food and Jobs programme

The Head of Geography Department at the University of Ghana says government must not just increase the number of farmers for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme without addressing the problems it.

Professor Joseph Yaro said although the agricultural flagship programme is a good move for government can meet the farmers halfway, move needs to be done.

“Last year, even with the 200,000 farmers engaged not all the farmers opted for the programme, which might be because of poor education,” he said.

He is hopeful that this year, the Agric Ministry will be travelling across the country to educate the farmers so they know about the programme and take advantage of it.

According to him, there should be a plan to delink the seedling and fertilizer issue.

Prof. Yaro was speaking in response to President Akufo-Addo's statement at London Business School’s Africa Summit in Oxford that government seeks to attract 500,000 farmers for the PFJ programme this year.

Currently, the programme engages 200,000 farmers.

With some setbacks experienced in the implementation of the 2017 program, Prof Yaro has suggested how government can come up with innovative ways of increasing the number of farmers on the program.

He encouraged programme authorities to consider late payments for the credit facility given for farmer so they can get access to loans to expand their farms.

Regarding such a facility, the Geography Professor, was quick to caution that “the farmers will take it as a political programme and will not pay back the loans.”

But the Technical Advisor at the Agric Ministry Emmanuel Asante-Kroabea says government has a number of ways to it seek to achieve its target.

“We can do it because we have planned the quantity of seeds as well as fertilizer that 500,000 farmers can access,” he said.

According to him, some farmers in the South have already started accessing fertilizer and seedlings.

“As the season moves up, the farmers there will also start to access the seedlings and fertilizer…by the close of the minor season, somewhere between September and October, we should be able to tell the number of farmers reached,” he said.