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21.07.2018 Business & Finance

52% Of Funds For Planting For Food And Jobs So Far Disbursed

52% Of Funds For Planting For Food And Jobs So Far Disbursed
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The Government has so far disbursed 52 per cent of funds allocated to its Planting for Food and Job programme as at the end of first half of the year.

Out of a total of GH¢700 million allocated for the implementation of the programme, the government has disbursed GH¢365.60 million to fund various components of the programme to ensure its success.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance, said this when he presented the 2018 mid-year fiscal policy review to the Members of Parliament on Thursday.

The Finance Minister noted that, a range of crops was added to those cultivated in 2017 during the 2018 cropping season. 'Groundnut has been added to the legumes category while cabbage, cucumber, lettuce and carrots have been added to the vegetable category, he said.

He added that 'Roots and tubers have also been added as a fourth category to benefit from the programme. Cereals remain rice, maize and sorghum.'

He said government was implementing a myriad of growth-enhancing, job-creating and social intervention programmes to better the lives of Ghanaians as well as achieve relevant Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Ofori-Atta said a total of 6,000 metric tonnes (mt) of improved seeds, 70 percent of target of maize, rice, soya bean, sorghum, groundnut and vegetables had been distributed across the country and indicated that in addition, 120,000 bundles of cassava sticks were distributed mainly in cassava growing areas to facilitate the planting of more cassava for food and jobs in the community and the country as a whole.

The sector Minister said fertilizer companies had been engaged for the supply and distribution of 270,000mt of both organic and inorganic fertilizer at 50 percent subsidised prices.

He said as at the ending of June, this year, a total of 124,000mt of fertilizer were supplied to farmers and the biometric registration to bring farmers registered under the programme to 500,000 from the initial 201,000 registered in 2017, was currently on-going in the country.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the evaluation of bids had been completed for the construction of 30 new warehouses to be equipped with seed cleaners, dryers and weighing scales in strategic Districts in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

He added that the programme was given a further boost with the distribution of 216 pick-ups and 3,000 motorcycles and protective clothing to the District Agricultural Departments and Agricultural Extension Agents across the country.

He said that Cabinet had also granted approval to recruit 2,700 Agricultural Extension Agents to augment the depleting number of Extension Agents in the system.

Meanwhile, touching on the stimulus package for industries, the sector Minister indicated in the 2018 budget, the Ghana EXIM Bank was expected to provide an amount of GH¢236m to revamp distressed but commercially viable industries.

He noted that bank had disbursed US5.1 million dollars to the pharmaceutical and textile industries adding that the Universal Merchant bank had also disbursed GH¢2million to the aluminium industry.

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