The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme is a Government of Ghana (GoG) designed and implemented programme aiming to promote growth in food production and create jobs across the country. The definition of the above statement seems catchy and euphonious but does it really serve it purpose?
Is our effort in Championing the PFJ yielding any positive results in this hard and difficult times the country is battling with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this, a number of foundational rooted points have to be considered.
First of all, the John Mahama administration did an assessment to determine the indicative support level of funding at the district level agricultural activities. For the avoidance of doubt, the erstwhile Mahama administration went through a process and came out with a project called Modernizing Agricultural Productivity to the Local Economy (MAPLE). This program was to strengthen and boost agricultural development at the local level. With this an amount of 125 million Canadian dollars was secured to kick start the policy in 2015. The money was never received until 2016 because there was a change of government in the Canadian side.
In 2016 when NDC lost power the money was received intended to serve it purpose as previously planned but guess what, a new policy was drawn by the Akuffo Addo administration as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) so as to make it looked like it was the NPP initiative. This wasn't a problem at all but what Ghanaians expected most is how the money can be used judiciously to serve it intended purpose of easing the hardship on the Ghanaian farmers. Indeed PFJ was initiated and has being in existence since 2016 to date.
The purpose of the policy as noted above was to promote growth of food production and create jobs for the Ghanaian people. Ghana has been hit by a deadly pandemic known as COVID-19, and in this hard times the government has to ensure proper sustainability of food supply. Fellow Ghanaians, are we seeing this happening now? Just recently the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) handed over more than 2,750 tonnes of cereals to the Ghana government to boost its school feeding programme under the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
The minister of Agriculture has assured the entire populace that there are enough food to sustain the economy in this emergency period we find ourselves. The CEO of National Buffer Food Stock Company (Mr. Hanan Abdul Wahab) has also assured that enough food has been stored to cater for Ghanaians in these emergency times. The Minister of Infomation Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in a recent interview has indicated that the government's food distribution programme in areas that were locked down will cease. This really vindicate the fact that there are not enough food to cater for the people in this emergency period.
Fellow Ghanaians, the Planting for Food and Job policy has lost it mandate of promoting growth in food production because of the poor incompetent and reckless handling of this policy by the Akuffo Addo government. This has really exposed the Akuffo Addo government as the policy was not able to provide enough food for the Ghanaian people in just one month of this emergency period. Not withstanding this the prices of food items has gone up astronomically according to ESOKO Ghana food prices index in March 2020.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that this Akuffo Addo government has failed Ghanaians according to the policy guidelines drawn by the previous John Mahama administration of Modernizing Agricultural Productivity to the Local Economy.
(NDC Youth Wing P.R.O)