Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says it’s premature to push the panic button over the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.

Though he admits that the agriculture sector is faced with lot of challenges, he is however not worried about the situation.

According to him, the interest in the programme is very high as farmers are keen in making it flourish regardless of the impediments.

Speaking at the handing over of the cash price to the 2021 National Best Farmer, Dr. Akoto said various measures are put in place to ensure the feasibility of the program

“We are very confident in spite of all the challenges affecting the sector which includes rocketing fertiliser and fuel prices, affecting food prices. We are confident in the Planting for Food and Jobs as its interest is still very high. Farmers are making inquiries for machinery, some are purchasing tractors for the work, so there is no need for anyone to panic”, he said.

Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank, John Kofi Mensah, hinted on plans to initiate an Agribusiness Entrepreneurship programme targeted at supporting the growth of agribusiness and the agriculture sector at large.

This, he believes will aid in the fight against unemployment and ensure economic growth.

According to him, young entrepreneurs will acquire the necessary skills in agribusiness.

He revealed that the programme will kick start later this year with financial support to these youth in agriculture.

“We will put students coming out of school into training to acquire skills for the agribusiness value chain process. And as we train them, we will give some monthly stipends to them to support their livelihood which is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. We will give them lands and accommodation for convenience to ensure that they support the sector”, the ADB MD said.

The National Best Farmer for 2021, Alhaji Mohammed Mashud, who received ¢600,000 from the Agriculture Development Bank commended the government in subsidising farm equipment to boost their activities.

“The government supported us with some farm equipment under the subsidy, and there has not been enough challenges with fertilizers”