The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has called on the government to desist from increasing the allocation of funds for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme in the upcoming 2022 budget statement and economic policy.
Speaking to Citi Business News the General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Karaweh, noted that until the leakages and issues with the programme were addressed any increase in allocation would be wasted.
“The Planting for Food and Jobs programme has been challenged seriously, and there are serious weaknesses with it which have not been addressed well. I expect that the budget should not just add on to the existing problems by just increasing for instance fertiliser supply when in actual fact what has been supplied in the past have not been properly accounted for,” he said.
He said, “If you supply more fertiliser it means you are going to increase smuggling and then have less fertiliser available for the farmers.”
“What I’m afraid of though is that the budget may try to increase funding for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme. An increase in funding is good, but when there is a leakage and you don’t plug it and you continue to increase funding you only waste public resources, and increase corruption and unaccountability,” he added.
The concept of the agricultural flagship programme – Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) – reveals a policy introduced by the government to address the declining growth in the country’s agricultural sector.
It was launched on April 19, 2017, at Goaso in the Ahafo Region and was spearheaded by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, whose aim has been to carry the PFJ Campaign with passion, precision and success into the future.
The PFJ was introduced to encourage Ghanaians to take farming more seriously than in the recent past and aims to make farming once more a respectable and profitable venture and create jobs.
It is a campaign with five implementation modules, starting with the PFJ itself, which promotes food security via crops, namely: maize, rice, sorghum, soybean, and vegetable crops (onion, tomato, pepper, etc.). This has since been expanded to include groundnut, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, cassava, cowpea, plantain and Orange Flesh Sweet Potato.
The second module, which focuses on expanding the cash crops, is known as the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), while the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) seeks to address the meat deficit in the country through the rearing of animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, fowls and guinea fowls.