Citizen Watch Ghana has commended the government for the nationwide success of its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiatives.

According to the think tank, the success of PFJ has had a positive impact on rural communities across the country.

“From our checks, over 900,000 biometric registrations have been done by the government and this is expected to attract farm families of three each making individual beneficiary members exceeding 2.7 million.

“The majority of these farmers were from Western, Bono, Ahafo and Ashanti Region. The success of the PFJ is not limited to only the Savanna Region”, according to a statement issued in Accra and signed by Francis Mensah, Convener of the group.

Citizen Watch Ghana issued the statement following reports that the Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has linked the success of PFJ to the alleged adoption of aluminium roofing sheets over straw roofs in rural areas of the Savanna Region.

According to the statement, PFJ has been very successful since it was implemented but the only limitation it has been challenges with access to market.

The think tank said if that was not checked, it could undo the successes PFJ has chalked.

Citizen Watch Ghana is calling on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support farmers to add value to their produce in an attempt to tackle food gloat which, according to the think tank, the country is bound to experience any time soon.

“From our checks, over 900,000 biometric registrations have been done by the government and is expected to attract farm families of three each making individual beneficiary members exceeding GHS2.7 million. The majority of these farmers were from Western, Bono, Ahafo and Ashanti Region. The success of the PFJ is not limited to only the Savanna Region”, according to the statement.

According to a statement from the Citizen Watch, if steps are not immediately taken to integrate the produce from the farmers into a full value chain or export the produce, the challenge in accessing markets will become a disincentive to farmers.

“We don’t want the success of the PFJ to be short-lived and that is why we are calling on the authorities to consider these options which would also tackle the issue of post-harvest losses in the country,” Citizen Watch Ghana said in the statement.

The think tank said the government needs to invest more in processing, adding that adopting the Ekumfi Pineapple farming model should be the best way forward to guarantee true success of PFJ.

“The government should make sure that the value chain for these commodities is fully implemented to derive the needed revenue for farmers and income for industries.

“Through the PFJ, harvest has been good, processing commodities such as maize into cornstarch, cornflakes, corn floor among others, would cut down on our imports for these products and also create meaningful jobs for our youths”, the statement said.