By Morkporkpor Anku, GNA
Accra, July 6, GNA – A Research Report on assessment of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ) called on government to create awareness using the local languages to spell out details of the programme.
The report said the campaign should give information on how and where they may access each of the programme pillars.
A Team of Researchers from the University of Development Studies presenting a research finding and recommendation at the Agriculture Policy Research Summit said there were some implementation challenges that confronted the programme in its first year.
The summit organised by the Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP) was to present the research findings and recommendations of the « Assessment of PPP Arrangements in the Agriculture Sector and Assessment of the Implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme: Lessons Learned and Way Forward » to stakeholders, especially policy makers.
It was also to explore, how proposed recommendations could be adopted to formulate and adjust policies and programmes implementation that assisted with strengthening the enabling environment for increased and sustainable private sector participation and investment in Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s flagship programme.
The challenges are inadequate and untimely supply of inputs, interference of politicians, cumbersome mode of payment for inputs and lack of support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and some district assemblies.
The researchers said farmers were more aware of the subsidised fertilizer and seed components and less aware of other packages: e-agriculture extension services and market linkages.
The report said the programme has the potential to reduce unemployment, poverty and food security and the chief opportunity of the programme was its potential to increase fertilizers application rate and increase improve seed uptake.
It recommended that the PFJ secretariat and major stakeholders should offer specialised packages to target women and the youth.
It said adequate inputs should be timely supplied to farmers and the time of the supply should be differentiated according to the agro-ecological zone.
« PFJ should be devoid of interference by politicians and this can be done through engagement of private agro-input dealers or other private sector agents to take full charge of the distribution and sale of the inputs with supervision of the Ministry.
Dr. Sagre Bambangi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture in–charge of Annual Crops, said the success of agriculture policy objective would require deliberate efforts on the part of government to work together with private sector businesses to formulate and implement policies that would remove their binding constraints.
He said this would require the Ministry to work with research to undertake quantitative and quality analysis and provide the evidence needed to guide policy decision-making to support growth of the private sector.
Dr Bambangi said there was the need for a more institutionalised long- lasting professional relationship between the Ministry and research institutions to enable the Ministry make better use of evidence-based findings and recommendations for an enhanced agriculture policy.
« Research in Ghana is a public good and we should all make the conscious effort to utilize research findings, » he added.
Mr Walter Nunez-Rodriguez, the Chief of Party of Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP), said as a technical project working on agriculture policies, « we believe that the PFJ programme is a bold and encouraging initiative, since it offers multiple and effective windows of opportunities to increase agricultural productivity in Ghana.
He said the programme also strengthen the coordination between the central government, the regions and the districts and fundamentally to motivate the private sector and agricultural producers to increase their investments.
He said in this case, the best possible results mean increasing the incomes of the smallholder farmers, which happen to be the poorest segment of the Ghanaian society and strengthening local markets, decreasing imports, generating more jobs and modernizing all along the food value chain.
Mr Nunez-Rodriguez said another reason of satisfaction for the APSP was to observe that the relationship between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the academic and research institutions was being strengthened through these events.
« Moreover, it is refreshing to know that these ties will continue to be reinforced through the revitalized Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System Nodes and through the agreements and permanent relationships.
He commended the United States government, who through The Feed the Future initiative/USAID provided the resources for the implementation of the APSP, enabling the team to perform in a solid and effective manner.
6 July 18