The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has embarked on a process to recruit 1,000 agriculture extension officers by end of March to augment the woefully inadequate officers in the system to support the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ agenda.
They are being recruited through the Youth in Agriculture Module under the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and will be seconded to MoFA.
However, as and when clearance is received from the Ministry of Finance, the officers would be migrated onto the payroll of the various district assemblies as employees of the Local Government Service.
Allowances for the extension officers have been budgeted for in the 2017 budget.
However, cost of logistics such as motorbikes, fuel, protective clothing and basic logistics, would be taken care of from a Canadian grant facility secured by the government for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ agenda project.
Extension officers offer critical services
Extension officers guide farmers to apply good agricultural practices in their production activities so as to make them efficient in the use of inputs for increased productivity to enhance farmer income.
Only 2,600 Extension Officers on the job
Ghana requires at least 4,000 Agric Extension Service Officers to some meaningful work but only 2,600 are in employment currently.
70% of Extension Officers to retire in 4 years
Information indicates that more than half of the 2,600 Service Officers are due for retirement in the next four years.
5,000 Extension Officers jobless
It is estimated that there are about 5,000 extension officers who have graduated from the five Colleges of Agriculture but are unemployed because of pressure on the public sector payroll.
Few commercial farms
Also, they could not secure jobs in the private sector as commercial farms are very few in Ghana.
5 Colleges of Agriculture
The Colleges of Agriculture in Ghana are: Ohawu and Adidome in the Volta Region, Ejura and Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region and Damongo in the Northern Region.
The Director of Extension Services at MoFA, Dr Kwame Ameza, told The Finder that the Ministry could not secure financial clearance to recruit extension officers in the past two years widening the deficit.
Gaps identified in each district
He explained that needs assessment to establish the needs of each of the 216 districts have been completed and the new recruits would be deployed based on the gaps identified in each district.
Dr Ameza stated that extension officers now work as employees of assemblies and MoFA provides technical backing and policy direction.
Mode of recruitment
According to him, graduates from the colleges of agriculture, who desire to participate in the recruitment, should send their applications to their preferred district assemblies to be registered and same forwarded to the Director of Human Resource at MoFA in Accra.
Similarly, he added that they can also send their names and applications to the College of Agriculture that they attended for onward submission to the Director of Human Resource at MoFA.
He explained that in case more than 1,000 graduates apply, officials of YEA, MoFA and Local Government Service would constitute a panel to interview the applicants.
Dr Ameza said successful applicants would be recruited under YEA and posted to the various districts nationwide.