The government is to expand its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) programme to non-traditional perennial crops for export, Alhaji Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru, a Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has said.
He said the PfFJs’ implementation had achieved significant success of increased food production and job creation, saying “the government is now emboldened to expand the PfFJs.”
Alhaji Tufeiru said this when he addressed the opening session of the close-out meeting of the Ghana Extension Systems Strengthening Project (GESSiP) held at Fiapre in the Sunyani West Municipality.
The GESSiP was funded under the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) and was implemented in 29 districts covering five regions – Bono, Bono East, Northern, North East and Savannah regions.
It was implemented through a consortium, comprising the Hunger Project, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Farmerline and the Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services of the MoFA.
According to the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the lead implementers, the project was initiated to address the key challenges of weak agriculture extension systems in the country.
It further aimed to catalyze and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation to increase productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers and improve food security.
Alhaji Tufeiri emphasised the government’s determination to modernise and transform agriculture, saying implementation of the PfFJs had facilitated immediate and adequate availability, particularly rice, maize, soyabean, sorghum and other staple crops.
The Deputy Minister welcomed the GESSiP project, which he said had reached 618,317 smallholders farmers, with inputs and extension information, 494,023 small-packs of certified seed of maize, soyabean and accompanying fertilizers and crop production products.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister, noted that improving agriculture was critical for national development, saying it was for this reason that the government continued to ensure improved technologies were put in place for increased and better-quality yields.
She said strong extension service delivery remained vital for the efficient use of agricultural technologies to accelerate agricultural development.
Mad Owusu-Banahene commended AGRA and its international partners, for successfully implementing the project in line with the PfFJs to achieve food security through accelerated on-farm productivity of smallholder farmers.
Mr Dennis Abugri Amenga, the Bono Regional Director of MoFA, said the region had witnessed improvement in public extension delivery due to the increased number of Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs).