Planting for Food and Jobs is a brilliant idea but poorly implemented – Fred Agbenyo

The Akufo-Addo administration’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PF&J) initiative is a good idea but poorly implemented, Deputy Director of International Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Mr Fred Agbenyo has said.

In his view, the programme was put in place at a time farmers do not have market readily available for their produce.

The produce, he said, end up going waste because there are no storage facilities.

Speaking on the New Day show on TV3 Friday October 8, he said “when it comes to agriculture and especially this programme, Planting for Foods and Jobs, it is a brilliant concept but I have a major problem with the implementation.

“If, for instance, I am planting plantain or banana crop it take some two years, I have produced plantain but I don’t have market for it, to even carry the plantain from the farm to the market centre is a problem, I don’t have storage faculties. So at a particular season you have so much planting on the market but nobody is buying it, it is going bad.”

Recently the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government’s flagship programme in the agric sector, the PF&J is doing well.

In his view, the initiative has prevented food shortage from happening in Ghana.

Speaking in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on TV3’s New Day show, Thursday August 11, he said “people wrongfully say there is food shortage, there is no food shortage in Ghana.

“If you look at all the sectors , the agric sector stands out as the sector which is doing well.

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The sector, he said, grew by 4.9 per cent in 2019 to 8.1per cent in 2021.

The “Planting for Food and Jobs is a good success,” he stressed.

His comments come at a time an Economist and CEO of Progeny Ventures, Dr Kofi Amoah said the PF&J was not working.

This, according to him, is perhaps due to the incompetence of those appointed to manage the programme.

Dr Amoah who was speaking in an interview on the Business Focus with Paa kwesi Asare on TV3 Monday August 8, said “When I hear a President vouching for a programme like Planting for Food and Jobs I am elated because all the things we’ve been talking about that we need to put the resources given to us by God to productive use but later realize its not working because probably the people appointed to manage it are not competent”.

He said the pwalugu tomato factory which was to support tomato farmers has been rundown by incompetent people. According to him if the right people are not appointed to manage affairs things will continue to go bad.

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“You can espouse all the  beautiful theories and programs that sound good on paper but if you don’t have the right people with the expertise, competence, honesty to focus their attention and minds to what you want to achieve nothing works”.

The Afric Minister earlier said citizens of some neighbouring West African (W/A) countries are trooping to Ghana to buy foods due to the success of the PF&J initiative,

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Dr Afrityie Akoto said this on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3, Tuesday August 2.

He stated that whereas others are going hungry in their home countries due to food shortage, Ghanaians and other residents in Ghana are not experiencing same due to the abundance of foods as a result of the PF&J.

“Without Planting for Food and Jobs we’ll be going as hungry as our neighbours around West Africa who are now coming to Ghana as the bread basket to pick our surpluses to the point that we even had to limit it by saying we are temporary banning export of our produce to the neighbouring countries,” he said.

“Of course other west African countries are going hungry that’s why they’re coming to Ghana to pick our food. Our surpluses and you’ll just have to travel to Ejura and other places to see those days the number plates of trucks crisscrossing Ghana, picking up surpluses to feed their own countries.

“As far as Kano in Nigeria, they were coming here to buy our rice,” he stressed.

Planting for Food and Jobs  was flagship agricultural Campaign of the Akufo-Addo-led government, with five (5) implementation modules.

The first module PFJ (Crops) aims to promote food security and immediate availability of selected food crops on the market and also provide jobs.

This module was officially launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo at Goaso on April 19, 2017 in the then Brong Ahafo Region.

The five Modules are: •Food Crops (PFJ) , Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Greenhouse Technology Villages (3 Villages), Rearing for Food and Jobs ( RFJ), Agricultural Mechanization Services (AMSECs).

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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