The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to equip the already existing extension officers with logistics to work with rather than recruiting National Service Personnel into extension services.
Mr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, the Programmer Officer, PFAG, told the Ghana News Agency that government’s flagship programme for the agricultural sector,
‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, was a good initiative but more engagements needed to be done with stakeholders, especially farmers.
“The approach of recruiting extension service officers to help in the programme is wrong,” he added.
President Nana Akufo-Addo on Wednesday officially launched the national ‘Planting for Food and Job programme’ at Goaso, the capital of the Asunafo Municipality in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The programme, according to the government, would also motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans.
Interested farmers will be provided with free seedlings among other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices.
Government intends to revolutionize agriculture in the country by introducing the programme which will create more than 750,000 jobs.
He said government needed to do more assessments and consultations in the introduction of the programme intended to benefit farmers.
On fertilizer subsidy programme, the Programme Officer said it was likely there would be massive smuggling of the product with the reduction of 50 per cent of the price.
With the programme government would subsidize 50 per cent of the fertilizer.
He said it was for this reasons that the Association seeks to launch the “PFAG Fertilizer Watch Dog Programme” to monitor the 2017 fertilizer subsidy programme.
He said volunteers would be recruited on the border towns and they would work in collaboration with the security agencies, traditional rulers to mitigate the smuggling of the product.
He called on government to provide complete subsidy not only on fertilizer but also on seeds.
Mrs Felicia Afia Nyantakyi-Owusu, an Executive Member of the National Seed Traders Association of Ghana, said in the Planting for Food and Job programme local seed producers had the opportunity to supply a quantity of seeds.
She said with the opportunity, the local producers could not meet government’s demand, hence the decision to import seed for the programme but assured government that in future they would meet their demand.
She called on farmers to invest in quality seeds for an improved crop season, adding that “if you do not invest in quality seeds, free fertilizer will not provide much for you but rather you get poor yields”.
She said government also needed to establish demonstration farms to give farmers first hand information on the planting for food and job programme.