Phase Two of the government’s main agriculture program, “Planting for Food and Jobs,” was introduced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on August 28, 2023, at the University for Development Studies in Tamale.
The second phase of the program is a five-year master plan for the transformation of agriculture in Ghana with a focus on modernization through the development of a chosen commodity value chain and active private sector engagement. Its goal is to build on the successes of the previous program.
The second phase, by design, “takes a holistic view and places greater emphasis on value chain approaches by focusing on strengthening linkages between actors along eleven selected agricultural commodity value chains, primarily those for grains, roots and tubers, vegetables, and poultry,” according to President Akufo-Addo, who was speaking at the launch.
He continued by saying that Phase Two of the Program also aims to enhance service delivery to maximize impact and replace direct input subsidies with smart agricultural financial support in the form of comprehensive input credit, with the option for in-kind payment.
The President also revealed that important components of the new phase include an input credit system that gives farmers access to inputs like seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides as well as other support services to improve productivity and yield, as well as a storage infrastructure and logistic hub to improve produce storage and distribution and lower post-harvest losses.
It also incorporates commodity trading and off-taker agreements to increase farmers’ access to markets and ensure fair prices for crops, as well as a digital platform for management, monitoring, and coordination to increase the program’s efficiency and efficacy.
“With over one and a half million (1.2 million) farmers expected to enroll in the program in its first year, the impact of the program is anticipated to be in the area of job development. The Program is expected to create an average of 210,000 new farm-related jobs over the following four years. This would not include other jobs throughout the agricultural value chains, which are expected to total 420,000 annually during the same period, according to President Akufo-Addo.
It will be recalled that President Akufo-Addo officially launched the “Planting for Food and Jobs” program on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at Goaso in the Ahafo region. The program is the government’s main effort to modernize agriculture, increase production efficiency, achieve food security, and increase profitability for our farmers. In short, it adopted a value-adding approach to quickly ramp up agro-processing and creating new, reliable markets. Its target was a considerable improvement in agricultural productivity.
The President noted that due to the first phase’s successful implementation, more than 2.7 million farmers and other value chain participants have been reached through the five modules, There is a generally stable environment for food security with food self-sufficiency in key food staples like maize, cassava, and yam, and the agricultural sector’s growth rate has increased from 2.7% in 2016 to an average of 6.3% from 2017 to 2021.
“Government has, thus, been able to achieve the annual target of six percent (6%) of sector growth, set under the Malabo Declaration to which Ghana is a signatory, increased fertilizer application rate from eight kilograms per hectare (8 kg/ha) in 2016 to twenty-five kilograms per hectare (25 kg/ha) in 2022, and increased distribution of certified seeds from two thousand metric tons (2,000 MT) in 2016 to thirty-six thousand metric tons (36 MT) in 2022.
The President was pleased to announce that “recent Summits, organized by the United Nations on the need to build country food systems in September 2021 in New York and at the AU Dakar II Summit in January 2022, underscored the need for the review of strategies for delivering solutions to challenges in the agricultural sector.” As a result, “it is praise-worthy that Ghana has responded to the call to action at both Summits by rolling out the Second Phase of the PFJ Programme,” the President said.
“I continue to promise you that my government would assist and treat all farmers fairly, including those who raise cattle, food crops, and fish. To be able to develop agriculture to a higher level and boost the standard of living for our people, he said.