The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru, says government will expand its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme to non-traditional perennial crops for export.
He said the expansion of the programme is due to the significant success its implementation had achieved in terms of increased food production and job creation.
The policy, which was initiated in 2017, forms part of measures to ensure food security in the country.
Addressing the opening session of the close-out meeting of the Ghana Extension Systems Strengthening Project (GESSiP) held at Fiapre in the Sunyani West Municipality, Alhaji Tufeiru said, “the government is now emboldened to expand the PfFJs.”
The GESSiP was funded under the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) and was implemented in 29 districts covering five regions; Bono, Bono East, Northern, North East and Savannah regions.
The Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services of the MoFA, through an agreement with the Hunger Project, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Farmerline implemented the GESSiP.
According to the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the lead implementers, the project was initiated to address the key challenges of weak agriculture extension systems in the country.
It further aimed to catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation to increase productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers and improve food security.
Alhaji Tufeiri noted that the implementation of the PfFJs had facilitated immediate and adequate availability, of crops such as rice, maize, soyabean, sorghum and other staple crops.
According to the Deputy Minister, the GESSiP project had reached 618,317 smallholder farmers, with inputs and extension information and 494,023 small-packs of certified seed of maize, soyabean and accompanying fertilizers and crop production products.
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, noted that improving agriculture was critical for national development.
This, she said is the reason for the government’s continued efforts to ensure improved technologies were put in place for increased and better-quality yields.
She added strong extension service delivery remained vital for the efficient use of agricultural technologies to accelerate agricultural development.
The Regional Minister commended AGRA and its international partners, for successfully implementing the project in line with the PfFJs to achieve food security through accelerated on-farm productivity of smallholder farmers.
The Bono Regional Director of MoFA, Dennis Abugri Amenga said the region had witnessed improvement in public extension delivery due to the increased number of Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs).