By: Ivy Setordjie,Joy News, Volta Region
The Volta regional technical committee for the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign has been inaugurated in the Volta Region with a call on the youth and the public to go into commercial farming.
A total of 7,914 farmers made of 5,885 males and 1,797 females have been registered for the campaign with the region registering 4,862 maize farmers to cultivate a total area of 14,400 Ha.
This means that the campaign’s target under maize production has been fully met. Hybrid maize would be established in the middle belt while the Open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) would be established in the southern and northern sectors of the region.
For rice, a total of 2,219 farmers have so far been registered and an area of 7,591Ha has been recorded and a deficit of 11,695 Ha of land is yet to be covered.
For vegetable production, a total 601 farmers have been registered for the cultivation of 2,499 Ha of land.
The Volta Region Minister, Archibald Yao Letsa, who Chairs the committee in a speech recently advised unemployed youth to go into farming to help increase food and raw material production instead of seeking for non-existing white-collar jobs.
He said Agriculture was a lucrative business if properly invested in.
He reminded the youth that venturing into farming would make them self-reliant and employers in the future.
He said that the advice to the youth has become imperative in view of the importance of farming to national growth and development.
“I want our youths to use their youthful agility toward commercial food production. This effort will enable them to improve their revenue base and become self-sufficient apart from contributing to national food security.” Dr Letsa said.
According to him, if many the youth go into commercial agriculture they would be able to cultivate many varieties during both rainy and dry seasons.
The minister also advised that the farming business requires patience, resilience, and commitment.
He reiterate the need for registered farmers to be educated on the projects ongoing
He also announced that a lot of investors are interested in investing in the agric sector in the region, especially in the light of the current administration’s drive to establish a factory every district in Ghana.
The Regional Director of Agriculture, Samuel Kofi Larbi, said the technical team has been constituted in order to coordinate and monitor the main activities along the five pillars of the campaign.
According to him, the regional technical committee will also monitor the implementation of the program in the municipalities and districts to ensure that municipal and district technical committees which will be constituted to implement activities are captured in the action plan.
He said in line with the action plan for the implementation of the campaign, the regional, as well as the municipal and the district focal persons, have already been appointed and that farmer registration for the campaign are also ongoing.
He has, however, assured the farmers that the regional department of agriculture as well as the various municipal and the districts and departments are fully ready and committed to ensuring a successful implementation of the program.
“We are very much ready and committed to a successful Planting for Food and Jobs program,” he said
A member of the national technical committee, Kwame Amezah, said the policy within the national development agenda is to allow agriculture to contribute to the structural transformation of the economy and maximize the benefits of accelerated growths.
He said significant improvements in the productivity of the agricultural sector are required to raise the average income of Ghanaians.
Achieving sustainable food security in Ghana within the context of a phenomenal growth in population and increasing unemployment is a major challenge to the county development, Dr Amezah lamented
He said the campaign will focus on four key values chains – maize, rice, soybean, and sorghum – and promote peri-urban vegetable production. These will be outdoored for the industrial crops, cash crops, and livestock and others in subsequent years.
In 2008, the governing NPP introduced the fertilizer subsidy program with the aim of enhancing farmer access for increase crop productivity and subsequently growth in the agricultural sector.
The new government says it will continue with the fertilizer subsidy program it introduced in 2008 in addition to other incentives that will enhance the productivity of all category of farmers.