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Veep touts greater potential in new phase of PFJ

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has observed that the country’s agricultural goals were intended to be met by the second phase of Planting for Food and Jobs ( PFJ).

He said there was great potential for the food and agriculture sectors in the new phase, which was still in its early phases of execution after being introduced in August of this year.

Speaking at an awards night held in Tarkwa to celebrate the 39th National Farmers Day, the Vice president said the government is committed to promoting resilience and food security.

He noted that it was based on the important lessons discovered in the past.

He said the government will keep helping academic institutions and researchers come up with clever ideas for the expansion and development of sustainable agriculture.

He said the academics and researchers have the brains to take the country into the smart world of the 21st Century,

He asserted that intelligent solutions to provide accuracy and predictability throughout the agricultural value chain were becoming more and more commonplace.

He continued that, the country needs to look at ways to use all of the technologies from the fourth industrial revolution.

“The deployment of satellite sensors, artificial intelligence, and digital technologies will all be used to increase agricultural output”.

He praised the effort that has already been made over the years to promote the agriculture industry by universities and research institutions.

“Developing and distributing enhanced climate-smart crop varieties, designing and implementing solar-powered irrigation systems that are efficient, and implementing conservation agriculture are a few of these technologies”

Others focus on using drones to apply precision agriculture, better market data, digital platforms for training, and upgraded technology and storage systems to lower post-harvest losses.

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia indicated that the current government since 2017, has supported farmers with the needed incentives and policies which has ensured increased productivity. 

He mentioned that notwithstanding the global economic challenges, the government has managed to double the average agriculture growth rate between 2017 and 2022..

He added that Ghana’s agriculture growth between 2013 and 2016 was a declining story with an average growth rate of 2.9 percent.

He continued, “The government has doubled the growth rate in the agriculture sector and this means we might be doing something right.  Is not that we have done everything but we have doubled the growth rate we came to meet”.

Dr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, mentioned that the second stage of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative was revolutionary.

According to him, It would assist in lessening the obstacles standing in the way of creating a resilient food system.

The show focuses on eleven selected commodity value chains, which when developed can contribute to the transformation of the sector by improving cereals, grains such as maize, rice, soybean and sorghum, and vegetables.

Meanwhile, Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development noted, that the ministry in collaboration with the Norwegian Fish for Development Project, is to develop an on-farm fish feed using local materials.

“This would go a long way to reduce the cost of producing cultured fish thereby increasing the profit margin for fish farmers”.

 She stressed that, by implementing smart solutions in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, it not only ensures the availability of fish for current and future generations but also will contribute to the health and resilience of the oceans.

“Let us remember that our actions today determine the legacy we leave for tomorrow”. 

She added that the Ministry will continue to ensure that fishers and aquaculture operators have access to the needed inputs for their operations.

The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, noted that the region has been a powerhouse in agricultural production, contributing significantly to the nation’s food basket.

A 57-year-old Charity Akortia from the Agona West Municipality in the Central Region was adjudged the National Best Farmer for 2023.

She received a cash prize of GH¢1 million, sponsored by the Agriculture Development Bank.

Whilst Theophilus Ackah from the Western Region was the first runner-up and took home a high horsepower tractor head, trailer, and boom sprayer.

The second runner-up award was taken by Kwaku Yeboah Asumah from the Bono East Region and he took home MF tractor head, trailer, and set of implements

From: Graciela Richter-Acquaye, Tarkwa

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