Ghana’s agriculture sector characterized by low productivity, with many farmers achieving less than 60% of the potential crop yields, a challenge of high.
Farmers achieving less than 60 per cent of their crop yields with post-harvest losses ranging from 10% to as high as 70% in the agriculture sector is unacceptable, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, has said.
He said he is, therefore, leading the strategy to change things for the better to enable farmers to get the desired results from their hard work in providing food for the country.
According to the minister, PFJ Phase II introduced by the government “is a game changer that will help eliminate or reduce the challenges that have militated against the attainment of a sustainable and resilient food system”
The minister said PFJ 2.0 will therefore scale up the adoption of new and improved technologies to contribute to sustainable food security and resilience by 2028.
Dr. Bryan seized the opportunity to express Government sympathy to farmers and other agricultural value chain actors who lost farms and agribusinesses due to the recent Akosombo Dam spillage and floods elsewhere.
“As announced a month ago, plans are underway to ensure that support reaches the affected farmers by the next planting season to get them back on their feet,” he added.
Coming into office at a time when food inflation was the highest in decades, coupled with concerns of worsening food insecurity in our country, he said he set off by reviewing the Government’s agriculture flagship programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs rolled out in 2017.
“This was to afford me the opportunity to appreciate what has been achieved, the challenges, and how to proceed with a focus on accelerating the agriculture transformation agenda,” he said at the farmers awards night to commemorate the National Farmers Day.
This the Minister said, informed the design of the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs, which was launched by H.E. the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo on 28th August, 2023 at Tamale in the Northern Region. PFJ Phase II is a five-year transformative agenda that aims to consolidate and build on the achievements of the initial PFJ.
It is private-sector driven and focuses on eleven selected commodity value chains which when fully developed can contribute to the transformation of the sector. These are Grains – maize, rice, soybean, and sorghum; Vegetables – tomato, pepper, and onion, Roots and tubers – cassava and yam; Plantain and Poultry.
While the programme’s focus is on implementing an efficient input credit system, the underpinning goals are to ensure food availability, reduce food price inflation, promote import substitution, promote exports, create jobs, and ensure food security and resilience.
The input credit system is designed to enhance access, and use of improved technology to increase productivity and efficiency across the entire agricultural value chain.
Under the PFJ Phase II, the introduction and adoption of smart solutions to the challenges identified will drive implementation to unlock the potential of agriculture.
The smart input credit system for farmers will enhance the operations of all value chain actors involved in the production and processing of the eleven (11) selected commodity value chains.
Dr. Bryan indicated that under his leadership, agriculture cannot continue to be business as usual if we want to achieve a sustainable and resilient food system that assures food security in the face of future shocks.
“We need a food system that is interconnected with all government agencies and agriculture value chain actors playing their roles effectively. It will also require the production of adequate raw materials for industry through which jobs can be created and post-harvest losses minimised,” he said.
The PFJ Phase II provides that framework for this interconnectedness of the value chain actors where smart solutions can be delivered in a seamless, efficient, and effective manner.
He urged all agricultural stakeholders- farmers, input dealers, financial institutions, traders, processors, our revered chiefs, the youth, and women, to embrace the PFJ Phase II.
To ensure targets are met, a digital technology system will be deployed for continuous data collection, monitoring, and reporting to ensure remedial actions are taken promptly to keep the programme on track.
The enabling policy environment that the Government assures will trigger increased financing to the private sector to enable us to achieve the targeted objectives.