Planting for Food and Jobs has increased agricultural growth – Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has observed the increase in agricultural growth in 2017 is as a result of effective policymaking and implementation by his government.

He specifically attributed the success in the agricultural sector to government’s flagship programme, planting for food and jobs.

According to Akufo-Addo, policy failure has in the past made the agriculture sector suffer, citing a 2.5% growth between 2014 and 2016.

Speaking at the 2018 Africa Green Revolution Forum, a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward, on Saturday, September 8, in Kigali, Rwanda, the President noted that between 2014 and 2016, Ghanaian agriculture witnessed an average growth, over the period, of 2.5%.

He explained that the situation meant that Ghana’s population growth of 3% per annum was outstripping growth in agriculture, resulting, therefore, in deepening poverty and increased rural-urban migration, with its attendant social and economic pressures.

In the President’s view “when you look at where we were, and what has happened since, it is largely because the policy has been properly aligned”.

He told the gathering, which had the President of Rwanda, Mr. Paul Kagame, Deputy President of Kenya, Mr. William Ruto, and the Prime Minister of Gabon, Emmanuel Issoze-Ngodet, as part of a panel, that “what we decided to do to revive Ghanaian agriculture was to devise a programme, which we call Planting for Food and Jobs.”

The programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, he added, is anchored on five main pillars.

These are the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilizers, the provision of dedicated extension services, a marketing strategy and the use of e-Agriculture.

Additionally, financial instruments such as the Bank of Ghana’s “Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending scheme”, with a fund of some GH¢500 million the President explained, is targeted at reducing risks of investments and promoting agriculture financing.

The result of these policies, the President stressed, have had a dramatic impact on the food crop yields.

He indicated that there was an increase in the production of maize, from 1.9 metric tons per hectare in 2016, to 3 metric tons per hectare in 2017; an increase in the production of rice, from 2.7 metric tons per hectare in 2016, to 4 metric tons per hectare in 2017; an increase in the production of soya, from 1.2 metric tons per hectare in 2016, to 2.5 metric tons per hectare in 2017; and an increase in the production of sorghum, from 0.8 metric tons per hectare in 2016 to 1.8 metric tons per hectare in 2017.

“The end result has been a significant increase in agricultural output and productivity in 2017, our first year in office. 8.36% was our growth rate in agriculture. For me, the first and most obvious area of success has been policymaking and implementation,” he added.

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