Mr. Edward Kareweh, General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has revealed that the Government’s laudable flagship programme “Planting for food and Jobs,” has failed due to poor arrangement by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
The GAWU General Secretary said the ministry failed to pay particular attention to the various supply chain stages of the programme and identify the stakeholders along the chain, know their needs and challenges and tackle them to make the programme viable and effective.
He reminded the Ministry that talking about agriculture in general without the specific in terms of production, harvest and market, the country would not achieve anything meaningful.
Mr. Kareweh was speaking on the theme: "Ghana's Agricultural Value Chain," at the 15th Monthly Stakeholders Engagement and Workers’ appreciation day seminar organized by the Ghana News Agency's Tema Regional Office, which aimed at providing a platform for both state and non-state organizations to address national issues to enhance development.
The event also served as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters toward national development in general, growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub, which was monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
He said production must first meet the domestic needs, and then feed the industry with the surplus and for the export market, therefore, the need for MOFA to relook and evaluate the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme for proper implementation.
The GAWU General Secretary disclosed that the 36 per cent subsidies on fertilizer for last year have been reduced to 15 per cent this year adding that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has also reduced the number of fertilizers available on subsidy.
He noted that “the planting for food and jobs became a communication gimmick and propaganda tool of politicians instead of solving the country’s agriculture needs,” adding that “food output this year will be reduced looking at all that is happening in the sector, you should increase production this year to prevent hardship for next year, the government must increase investment in agriculture to make it happen.”
He said Ghana has the potential to upscale its agriculture sector and any attempt to develop without it would take the country nowhere stressing that “it is not gold, neither services respectively it will destroy the environment, and it does not stand on its own alone.”
Mr Kareweh emphasised that the value chain of every crop differs and therefore no one solution could apply to all therefore, the need to do proper evaluation and targeted implementation to achieve the aim of such interventions.
“In Ghana, we are so much excited about policies than the outcome, policies must target needs rather than being omnibuses,” he said.
He said food related challenges would be worse in 2023 looking at what was happening to the country’s farming this year, explaining that the food being consumed this year were the ones planted and harvested from 2021, and the ones being cultivated in 2022 would be used to feed the country next year.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager explained that “we recognize the excellence in stakeholder engagement, which we believe will assist us GNA and our stakeholders to deliver and ensure that society plays an active watchdog role so that institutions perform”.
Mr Ameyibor said the Agency was strategically placed as a credible news organisation that needed to deepen its relations with its stakeholders for mutual benefit and to advance the prospects of the agency and the country as a whole.
Other speakers at the stakeholders’ engagement were: Mr. Richard A. Quayson, Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice; Mr. Richard Kovey, a Convener at Campaign Against Privatization and Commercialization of Education (CAPCOE); and Mr. Papi-Paulo Zigah, Director of International Operations, Future Careers Ghana.