The Center For Agricultural Research and Integration Ghana (CARIG) says the sterling performance in the agriculture under the current administration of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) could be a magic wand for the re-election of His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.
The group says its research across the country has proven that not only has the agriculture sector witnessed massive revival over the past three and half years, but also many more Ghanaians, particularly farmers, have benefitted tremendously from the various flagship policies implemented by the Government.
In a yet to release survey snippets of which have been made available to this news portal, the group rated Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, as well as the Greenhouse Villages programme, as major interventions that have had direct immediate impacts on the lives of over 1.5m farmers and farming families in the country.
"Whilst the research appreciates the fact that policies like Free SHS, One District, One Factory amongst others are very important to the long term economic transformation, policies like Planting for Food and Jobs has incredibly changed the economic dynamics of many households in the country " the report emphasised.
The CARIG further pointed out "perhaps for the first time in our history as a country, Agriculture will likely determine the political fortunes of the two major parties.
It said the three months research uncovered that the PFJ initiative has increased the ability of many Ghanaians "to create and store wealth".
The group explained that with the increase in production yields per acre, farmers are now able to produce enough to feed their households, sell some for their upkeep and also store for future business.
Government in April 2017, launched its flagship Agricultural Policy, Planting for Food and Jobs at Goaso in the Ahafo Region.
The programme, according to the Ministry, involves the provision of highly subsidized inputs (seeds and fertilizers), technical services (extension services) as well as access to market for beneficiary farmers.
It began with a pilot of 200, 000 farmers across and currently about 1.5m farmers are enjoying from the initiative.
The programme has five inbuilt modules; Planting for Food and Jobs- which focuses on major food crops such as maize, rice, soybean, sorghum, cassava and a selection of vegetables.
There is also Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD)- this module deals with six major cash/tree crops including Oil Palm, Coconut, Coffee, Rubber, Cashew and Shea.
The objective for the implementation of the PERD, according to the Ministry, is to diversify Ghana's agricultural export commodities, which is currently limited to cocoa, to other tree crops whose economic values, are similar to cocoa.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto is on record to have said that "the PERD programme could in the next seven years rake in as much as $16 Billion Dollars every year upon its successful implementation"
Already, Government, by Legislative Instrument, set up the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA), similar to COCOBOD, to regulate the production, sales and marketing of the various crops under the PERD programme.
The President, in a recent public address, hinted that the "Board of the TCDA would in the next days, be inaugurated to commence work. It is expected to be headquartered in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital.
The other modules under the PFJ programme are Rearing for Food and Jobs(RFJ), Greenhouse Villages and Agriculture Mechanization.
The RFJ programme is currently being piloted in the selected district across the country with the focus on sheep, goat, piggery and poultry.
The aim is to boost local production of particularly poultry in order to reduce the huge importation and to also meet the nutritional needs of Ghanaians.
Currently, three Greenhouse Villages are in operation; Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region, Bawjiase in the Central Region and Akomadan in the Ashanti Region.
The facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art training centres with hundreds of students being trained in modern vegetable production.
On Mechanization, Government, through agreements with Brazil, India and Czech Republic, has taken delivery of ultra-modern farm equipment such as tractors, rice millers, planters amongst others, to support farmers in the country.
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