Address loopholes in Planting for Food and Jobs – Peasant Farmers to gov’t

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to address delays to input distribution, the poor quality of inputs, as well as bureaucracies holding back smooth implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative.

According to the PFAG, reports from its regional monitoring identified loopholes it believes could severely hamper implementation of the PFJ initiative, aimed at increasing food production.

“In September 2017, PFAG members in all the 10 regions presented their monitoring report on ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ and raised concerns about the delay of input distribution, poor quality inputs and bureaucracies in the distribution process,” said Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, National President and Board Chairman of PFAG.

“We call on government to do proper consultations in future programmes before their implementation in order to achieve maximum results.”

Government, as part of the implementation of its flagship agriculture programme, supplies inputs such as fertilisers, machinery, among others, at subsidised prices to farmers.

However, Mr. Mohammed-speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the association in Techiman, urged government to address the concerns so as to ensure smooth implementation and realisation of the PFJ initiative’s objectives.

Although Ghana is yet to legislate on the production and sale of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), he expressed worry that the sale and consumption of them poses a serious health challenge.

“We are alarmed by the influx of Genetically Modified Organism products into the Ghanaian market irrespective of negative implications to health and the environment,” he noted.

The influx of GMOs, he further noted, could increase the prevalence of cancers in the country, since GMOs are known as being among leading causes of the disease.

Among other things, PFAG urged Parliament to do due diligence before passing the Plant Breeders bill. This, it explains, will ensure that the average farmer is not left worse off.

“The bill rather allows foreign seed corporations to take control of the Ghana seed industry in the name of intellectual property rights. Our agricultural sector cannot grow by relying on the importation of seeds from foreigners,” he warned.