Successes of Planting for Food and Jobs programme overly exaggerated - GAWU

PFJ Planting For Food And Jobs Planting for Food and Jobs is a flagship programme on agriculture by government

Fri, 17 Sep 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

• Government is overblowing successes of its flagship agric programme

• The Planting for Foods and Jobs policy is not achieving set targets

• GAWU wants an audit of the programme in view of looming food shortage

Edward Kareweh, General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union, GAWU, has stated that the successes of the government’s flagship Planting for Foods and Jobs, PFJ, programme; have been overly exaggerated.

According to him, there is the need for an audit of the programme and also for all stakeholders to find a more durable way out of a looming food shortage facing the country.

Speaking on Joy FM’s News Night programme, Kareweh pointed to how the government’s own records showed that previous claims of sufficient food have proven untrue. “The successes of the planting for food and jobs programme have been overly exaggerated.

“To the extent that we were told that maize production had more than doubled in 2020 and that rice production was nearly 50% higher and yet between January to July, we have had severe shortages of maize and rice in the country.

“And government seeks to explain that out by saying we are over exporting. For us, that is not the case, because, between the same period and 2020, the exportation of maize and soya bean have been declining, so it cannot be the main cause of food shortages within the country,” he added.

Advancing GAWU’s position on the cause of the shortages, Kareweh stressed the need to address structural challenges in the sector.

“The main cause of food shortages is as a result of structural challenges within the agricultural sector, we are told that PFJ subsidizes fertilizers, their suppliers refused to supply fertilizers in 2021 because their suppliers were not paid for previous supplies and it came from no mean person but the Minister himself and even prior to that they also told us that there was some drought in four regions.

“So the whole explanation that we have over exported and therefore leading to food shortages in the country is not supported by the challenges on the ground,” he added.

The Deputy Minister of Agric, Mohammed Hardi disagreed that the PFJ was not as successful as the government made it seem. He also stressed that placing a ban on the export of food was the best option to ensure Ghana adequately stocks up enough food.

For his part, Chamber of Agriculture president, Anthony Morrison, said Ghana was facing a food crisis because of the bad implementation of the PFJ programme, he backed GAWU’s call for a full, comprehensive audit of the programme.

Government recently slammed former president John Dramani Mahama for ‘scare mongering’ when he raised the issue of a looming food crisis but early this week, the Agric Ministry admitted that Ghana faces a food shortage because the government had let its guard down with food exports over the last year.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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