General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Edward Kareweh has described the government’s planting for food and jobs policy (PFJ) as largely unsuccessful.
Data from the government has shown positive results of the PFJ in the Agriculture sector including increases in farmer participation (from 202,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2019 ) and yields [ Maize- 71% (from 1.7 million MT in 2016 to 2.9 million MT in 2019) ; Paddy Rice – 34% (from 688,000 MT in 2016 to 925,000 MT in 2019) ].
But speaking on Let’s Talk Business with Emmanuel Agyabeng, Mr. Kareweh said these statistics are not representative of current happenings in the sector.
“The figures the government gave us does not represent what is on the ground. You cannot tell us that maize production for instance, in 2020, had gone up than in 2019 when there was no covid and then few months later, there was no maize in the system. The poultry industry has suffered severely and since it has not recovered, how do you reconcile this? When there is no food, you claim the policy has been successful. Where is the success? ”, he quizzed.
He also called out the government for blaming Covid-19 for the challenges in the sector.
“Government said that in 2023, we are going to be sufficient in production. Today, they are blaming everything on Covid when in 2020 we had higher production volumes than the year before. That tells us that Covid never affected agriculture”, he said.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Dr Charles Nyaaba has described decision of the Agric Ministry to issue fuel coupons for carting foodstuff as a Political talk. The Agric ministry announced in July this year that it was considering offering fuel subsidies to transport firms and owners to enable them to haul foodstuffs to the market centres and force down food prices. Two months on, the peasant farmers say they are yet to see the policy being implemented.
“When that pronouncement was made, we were always clear that the government does not have the capacity to do it and it wasn’t a prudent policy they wanted to implement. You can talk to anyone in the sector to find out if the government is supporting them to convey food to the urban centres. How were they going to do it? To me, it was just political talk”, Dr Nyaaba Said
“I think that sometimes, the government creates a problem for itself. Things that we don’t demand for, they create the impression as if they can do it but when it comes to actual execution, then they are found wanting. I think the government is too ambitious without considering the availability of resources to implement those plans that they have. Farmers are actually losing trust in government”, He added.