Rice farmers have questioned the viability of government’s biggest flagship agricultural programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJs) and the subsequent claim of abundance of food due to the policy.
The farmers say the policy has failed to address key concerns such as the lack of access to finance, unavailability of water and a lack of mechanization drive associated with agriculture in Ghana.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem show Friday, a Rice Value Chain Consultant, Evans Sackey Teye, said the government’s decision to subsidise seeds and fertilisers alone were not enough to shore production in Ghana.
“There are still a lot of challenges within the agriculture sector yet the campaign is silent on them – issues of land preparation and post-harvest loses have been left unaddressed,” he explained.
To Mr Sackey Teye, the government has demonstrated little commitment to making the programme effective, let alone making it achieve its purpose.
“Government promised mechanization centres, warehouses which are all nowhere to be seen. We go for loans pegged at 30% interest rate and for some time now, we have encountered difficulties acquiring loans due to the financial sector clean-up,” he added.
On the same show, the Executive Director for Western Dealer Group, Mr Kwabena Amofa also added that the government had taken the easier aspect of the PFJs policy, leaving farmers burdened.
“There must be an engagement on the policy because the most difficult aspects – land preparation and post-harvest issues have been left for the farmer who lack combined harvesters, millers and other equipment that will facilitate work on the field,” he adivsed.