The Minority in Parliament has strongly criticised the 2nd phase of the government’s agricultural flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday, August 28, 2023, launched Phase Two of Planting for Food and Jobs at the University for Development Studies, in Tamale.
Targeted at building on the successes of the initial programme, the second phase of the programme is a five-year master plan for the transformation of agriculture in Ghana with a focus on modernisation through the development of a selected commodity value chain and active private sector participation.
Reacting to the launch of the 2nd phase of PFJ in a statement signed by Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw, Deputy Ranking Member, Committee on Food, Agriculture & Cocoa Affairs, the Minority took a dig at the government arguing that six years after the implementation of the PFJ programme, Ghanaians cannot account for increased production.
“We have been tricked!!! After six (6) years of implementation of the PFJ programme, we still cannot account for the so-called increased production figures that are being reported by the Minister for Agriculture. Where is the maize? Where is the rice? Where are the Soyabeans? All other things being equal, we expect to have a glut in the system and that should drive down prices. On the contrary, food produce are scarce and prices are skyrocketing. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been tricked!!!”
The Minority in Parliament doubted if the government would deliver any significant march to
food security for the country.
“After reading through the PFJ Phase 2 program document, we are sad to report that, there is nothing substantially new in it and will not deliver any significant march to food security for this country. It’s aimed at erasing the mess of PfJ 1 and creating an image-saving platform to continue the dissipation of this country’s resources through establishments by their friends and family”.
They said there’s nothing new about the 2nd phase of PFJ stressing that it will impoverish smallholder farmers.
“So clearly, there is nothing special about PFJ Phase 2.0. It’s just a way of telling us government can no longer support input subsidy and that farmers will be left in the hands of private commercial entities to negotiate and transact their own production input regimes based on market determinants.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the PFJ phase is substantially not different from the PFJ this government has implemented since 2017, infact, this new program will impoverish the small holder farmer in a worse form as his faith will be determined by market forces. Government has no priority crops its prepared to commit finances on to reduce our import bill and achieve food sufficiency in the short to medium term. The whole production season for 2023 has been wasted and farmers have planted crops at full market price for their inputs. Expect higher food prices by close of year 2023 as farmers recover their full input cost. The language of the launched PFJ 2 document
is flowery and highly theoretical”.
The Minority in Parliament entreated the Minister of Food and Agriculture Bryan Acheampong, to up his game.
“We conclude that PFJ has failed to deliver food and nutritional security for the people of Ghana and the new minister must be seen to be doing something new,” they advised.