The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr. Bryan Acheampong, has indicated that it will take the involvement of all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to ensure food sufficiency and resilience.
While government is doing its best to ensure the country is food sufficient and resilient by 2028 through a number of measures, including a five-year strategic plan, Dr. Acheampong said this alone will not be enough; adding that it will take the collective effort of all actors including farmers, aggregators, input dealers, regional and district agricultural offices, fisheries commissions and departments among others to achieve food security and resilience.
The minister said this during the official opening of a five-Day National Agricultural Festival – Agrifest Ghana 2023, slated for Monday 27th November to Friday 1st December 2023 as part of activities marking the 39th National Farmers’ Day celebration; adding that he expects phase two of Planting for Jobs and Food (PFJ II) to contribute significantly in food production and security over the coming years.
Although the initial Planting for Food and Jobs programme launched in 2017 has shown promising results in its first phase, the second phase, Dr. Acheampong explained, is seen as a critical step toward transforming the country’s agricultural sector; as it is expected to build on successes of the first phase and take the programme to its next level.
PFJ 2.0 is focused on private-sector partnerships that can help provide financing and technical support to farmers, which can improve their productivity and profitability. This, the minister stated, will lead to increased investment in the agricultural sector and create employment opportunities.
The success of PFJ Phase II will depend on several factors, including funding, implementation and sustainability. In this connection, Dr. Acheampong said government has therefore provided an adequate budget to ensure the programme is adequately funded, and that resources are allocated effectively. The programme’s implementation also needs to be efficient and effective, with a focus on reaching mechanised and commercial farmers to address their specific needs.
Additionally, Dr. Acheampong noted government will from next year allocate 18 million-day old chicks to farmers, rehabilitate 300 farms and establish 15 poultry outgrowers, with the aim of boosting local poultry production. Apart from this, government plans to give 4.5 million-day old chicks to farmers this coming December. These interventions fall under a broader national plan to cut down imports of poultry products and concomitant effects on the cedi.
“Currently,” the minister said, “we are producing only 5 percent of what we consume when it comes to poultry.”
The minister therefore rallied all actors in the agricultural sector to be actively involved in order to speed up processes toward attaining food security by 2028. He particularly entreated the youth to seize opportunities along the sector’s value chain.
The five-day National Agricultural Festival – Agrifest Ghana 2023 – is slated for Monday 27th November to Friday 1st December 2023. The event is being held at the Ministerial enclave in Accra and forms part of activities marking the annual National Farmers’ Day celebration.
The first Friday of December will be commemorated with an awards night ceremony at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in the Western Region, where President Nana Akufo-Addo will honour best-performing farmers and fishers. A total of 15 distinguished farmers will receive recognition during the awards night.
The theme of the 39th National Farmers’ Day is ‘Delivering smart solutions for sustainable food security and resilience”, which the minister said is appropriate and relevant as it resonates with the PFJ 2.0 programme aimed at achieving food security.