Gov't rubbishes aspects of IMANI's report on Planting for Food and Jobs

By Michael Abayateye
Agriculture in Ghana

Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Nurah Gyeile has denied aspects of IMANI Africa's report on the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative by government.

According to the report,access to finance remains a huge challenge in the Agricultural sector yet the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative is silent on it.It also advised government to role out policies to get banks to give credit facilities to farmers with lower interest rate as the high risk of the business market makes it difficult for the financial institutions to give loans to those in the Agricultural sector.

Most importantly, the report criticized government's reliability on rain as the main source of water for cultivation insisting that the unpredictable nature of the weather and climate change makes it inappropriate to depend solely on rain.Rather a comprehensive water availability plan in the implementation strategy would be required.It also stated that the project does not have any holistic implementation plan.

But reacting to IMANI's report, Mr. Gyeile who spoke to Citi News, said he believes that the rains would be available for cultivation as the country over the years have relied on it for agriculture purposes.

"Over decades,the country has depended on rain for agriculture and it is not possible that there would not be rains in a year,"he stated.

Moreover, he said they could also rely on the One District, One Dam project to serve irrigation purposes for the the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.

He explained that irrigation projects have been implemented and would be done in a level that has not been seen before, just like the Ghana water and sewerage corporation (GWSC) and Ghana Water Company that would make water available to all.

"The first objective is to ensure food security for Ghana and government have adequate implementation plans for the purpose. The implementation plan has been developed and would be launched in coming days,"he added. 

The Minister denied earlier reports that there were low patronage across the country. According to the Minister, he was only disappointed at the northern region for recording low numbers at early stages of registration as compared to other regions.

In all about 200,000 farmers across the country are expected to be registered under the Planting for Food and Jobs project with the three regions of the north expected to have the highest number of farmers.

Currently, he said, 188,000 people have been registered with the upper west alone having 54,000 farmers and looking forward to exceed their target in coming days.

Credit: citifmonline