President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that gains being recorded in the agriculture sector over the period affirm the interventions introduced to bring improvement to the sector are yielding positive returns.
To this end, he said: “We have made substantial investments in the agriculture sector because we recognise this is where a substantial number of our people make a living. The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme’s successes have transformed the lives of many farmers around the country,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was giving an account of the agriculture sector in his State of the Nation Address in parliament, and announced that the Tono Irrigation Dam has been fully rehabilitated, and is fully operational, serving the needs of many farmers in areas around the dam.
The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project has resulted in the availability of a total 13,190 hectares of additional irrigable land – through rehabilitation of the Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes for rice and vegetable cultivation.
Immediate benefits arising from the scheme include improved rice yields – increasing from 4.5 tonnes per hectare to 5.5 tonnes per hectare, leading to increased production and growth in farm incomes.
This has benefitted some 14,264 smallholder beneficiaries directly, creating some 40,000 jobs along several value chain activities generated from the irrigation schemes, according to the president.
Furthermore, he said, government has engaged nine large-scale investors in addition to smallholder farmers at the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP). The farmers will be producing rice, maize and vegetables on 1,300 hectares using modern production technologies to achieve improved productivity and production, within the next three months.
President Akufo-Addo also said government has invested in the vegetables sector, through the Ghana Peri-urban Vegetable Value Chain Project. This includes the provision of irrigation infrastructure covering a total of 541 hectares, which directly impacts vegetable farmers in the Greater Accra Region.
“In addition to these farmers, we have also provided inputs and technical support to vegetable farmers at Hikpo in the Volta Region and Asokwa in the Ashanti Region. The project has provided off-taker arrangements for both domestic and international markets,” he stated.
Also, he indicated that the construction of 80 warehouses, with a combined storage capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes, has been completed. The facility’s use in the food production chain, he observed, is offering better protection to the farmers’ harvests.
On the back of these developments, the president said: “There is no doubt that but for the vigorous interventions we have made in agriculture over the past five years, which have made us more self-reliant in our food needs, our country would have been at much greater risk as fallouts from the dramatic worldwide increases in freight charges hit prices in our markets and on our supermarket shelves”.
On cocoa, President Akufo-Addo noted that the cocoa industry has recorded some tremendous successes – including producing 1,047,385 tonnes, the highest ever recorded.
This is in addition to efforts made to address inequalities in the international marketing system of cocoa, resulting in the payment of a Living Income Differential of US$400 per tonne of cocoa to farmers.
A non-adjustable electronic weighing scale was introduced for the purchase of cocoa from our cocoa farmers at the start of the cocoa season in October 2021. It is expected to end one of the main sources of distrust between cocoa farmers and officialdom.
Among other things, he indicated that government is using technology to attract more young people into agriculture – with some 537 youth so far trained in the production of high-value vegetables using greenhouse technology.