13.03.2024 Agriculture

Food and Agriculture Ministry begins registration of PFJ Phase II

By Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD || Contributor
Food and Agriculture Ministry begins registration of PFJ Phase II
13.03.2024 LISTEN

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has begun the registration of farmers for the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme Phase two (PFJ 2.0).

The registration exercise requires interested farmers and institutions or companies to visit their district agricultural directorate where extension officers will assist them by capturing their data with tablets supplied by the government

The initiative aims to boost domestic food production and create jobs in the agricultural sector.

The Sector Minister, Dr Bryan Acheampong, who announced the commencement of the registration exercise in Accra, invited farmers and producers to register with their local agricultural extension agents at the District Department of Agriculture.

He stated that a central digital platform would be used for real-time data capturing, monitoring and evaluation, with the development of a user-friendly platform to track the program progress as well as expected production on the farm.

Dr Acheampong said a significant difference between PFJ 2.0, and the initial program was the substitution of direct input subsidy with a smart agricultural financial support system in the form of a zero-interest input credit system, where payment would be in kind.

Touching on the implementation of the program, he said potential farmers would secure loans from financial institutions and they would be required to pay back in kind, since the program was private-sector driven.

He gave an assurance that the fear of risk had been taken care of under the program and that with digitalisation, financial institutions would be willing to advance loans to the farmers.

Justifying the need to step up food production in the country, the Minister said, in 2022, even though the country required 1.44 million metric tonnes of rice, only 685,000 metric tonnes were realised representing 48 per cent. He said that 52 per cent of the shortfall had to be imported to meet the national demand.

He was hopeful that with the rollout of the PFJ2.0, the country would attain self-sufficiency in rice production by 2027.