Farmers demand clarity on ‘multiplicity’ of agric initiatives

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called for clarity on initiatives under the Akufo-Addo Programme for Economic Transformation (AAPET), saying, it may lead to duplication of initiatives.

Government, in the 2018 Budget, said the AAPET initiative will, among other things, set up a GH₵400 million fund to de-risk the agriculture and agribusiness sector through sustainable agriculture financing and crop insurance schemes.

This, the PFAG said in its Post 2018 Budget analysis, must be clarified, as a lack of details about how the fund will be used, gives farmers uncertain hope.

Similar existing programmes, it said, may lead to duplication of initiatives which will, in the long-run, not serve the interest of the sector.

“Under the AAPET, a GH₵400 million fund is to be set up to de-risk the sector. There is no detail on how this fund will be used, leaving so much discretion on the managers to decide on where to direct these resources. We are not also certain if these funds will cater for compensation for farmers whose crops were destroyed by the army worms,” PFAG said.

“We expect clarity on the multiplicity of initiatives adopted by government for the agricultural sector. This brings confusion and breeds duplication resulting in ineffectiveness and we expect government to come clear on them.

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For example, 2017 agricultural initiatives mentioned under the programmes still come under the new 2018 AAPET initiative. The same can be said about the extension support to farmers under the Nation Builders Corps (NBC).

Also, how is the GH₵400 million proposed fund to de-risk the agriculture and agribusiness sector different from the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) proposed in 2016?” PFAG asked.

The PFAG is, therefore, calling on government to come clear on the programme in order to help farmers know how to benefit from it.

According to government, the AAPET is aimed at mobilising and leveraging public, private, and public-private partnership investments; modernising and transforming agriculture; and developing major infrastructure projects that support the agricultural zones of the country and industrialisation agenda of government.

It will also support the development of agribusiness start-ups through the establishment of a grant funding facility, and abolish duties on some agricultural produce processing equipment and machinery.

“The programme will also launch a major pension scheme for cocoa farmers; ramp up investments under the Planting for Food and Jobs (seeds, subsidized fertilizer, etc); develop modern storage facilities through the ‘One District, One Warehouse’ programme; increase the pace of agricultural mechanisation; and also provide specific technical assistance and tax incentives to support agro-processing, packaging, and market access.”

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