Minister outlines gains in Agriculture and Pro Poor Government Policies

The Deputy Minister for local government and rural development in charge of rural economic development and Agric, Hon Collins Ntim has enumerated government’s policies and directions on agriculture.

Hon Collins Ntim made this known when he was delivered a speech at the 159th FAO council meeting at the FAO headquarters in Rome on June 6, 2018.

He said, Ghana over the years has initiated a number of pro-poor programmes and interventions aimed at reducing hunger and poverty across the country, and the first country on the African continent to attain the Millennium Development Goal No. 1 of halving poverty and hunger, reducing the level of its malnourished population from 7 million in the early 1990s to less than 1 million today.

Hon Collins Ntim reiterated the commitment of the President of the Republic of Ghana who doubles as the Co-Chair of the SDGs Advocates, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, aimed at ensuring the realization of Sustainable Development Goal 2, which will help the country chart a sustainable path to ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

Touching on governments current policies been rolled out,Hon Collins Ntim said, government of Ghana rolled out the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development (CPESD) Policy in 2017.

The 7-year CPESD Policy (2017-2024) is aimed at reforming Ghana’s agriculture and industry base to improve the rural economy.

This he said is expected to put Ghana on the path towards ending all forms of poverty and hunger and malnutrition.

Some of the innovative programmes currently ongoing in Ghana are as follows; Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme, One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam Initiative, the One district, One Warehousing project,          capitation grant for all basic schools, School feeding programme, Free senior high school education, Free public transport system for the aged and pupils in basic schools, National health Insurance System, Livelihood empowerment against poverty.

These programmes, amongst others, will facilitate rural development, and help achieve both SDGs 1 and 2 by 2030.

On modernisation of agriculture to improve production efficiency, on Collins Ntim revealed that, government’s vision is to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, which are all aimed at significantly enhancing agricultural productivity.

The basic objective of the  policy is to guarantee food self-sufficiency, that are able to feed ourselves and wean us off dependence on the importation of foodstuffs we can grow by ourselves and determined to stand on our own feet – hence our mantra, “Ghana Beyond Aid.”

The deputy minister said, “the District Centre for Agriculture Commerce and Technology

(DCACT) is another major unit, which has been established in each district, is an institutional mechanism established at the district level to coordinate and harmonise all commercial, entrepreneurial and agricultural initiatives towards achieving viability and sustainability of economic development and job creation at the district level.

It will facilitate and coordinate efforts of department of the assembly in the execution of all flagship programme geared towards the elimination of poverty and hunger and serves as the functional secretariat of the District Planning and Coordination Unit (DPCU). ”

Further to that,” it is the repository of data on all government flagship programmes at the district level and also provides real time data and updates to monitor progress of interventions and guide both public and private investor decision making”.

Hon Collins Ntim again stressed on the two major agric programmes  dubbed     planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and planting for jobs and investment.

The planting for food and jobs, is a major landmark intervention rolled out in April 2017 by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture aimed at addressing food security and improving household and family sustenance.

The programme offers highly subsidized package of farm inputs to farmers to improve production efficiency.

On the other hand,the  planting for Export and rural Development (PERD) is through the joint effort by the ministry of local government and rural development and ministry of food and agriculture to roll out the national tree crop to create a legacy towards the realization of the Ghana beyond Aid agenda.

This 5-year PERD programme will support 770,000 farmers in 168 districts with free planting materials for  eight commodity value chains namely Cashew, Coffee, Cotton Coconut, Citrus, Oil Palm, Mangoes and Shea, validated to cover over 1.7 million hectares of farmlands and in ensuring that every seedling gets planted,about,38,900 young graduates will be engaged as crop specialized extension officers to help the farmers plant through the decentralised system and to create sustainable raw material base to spur up the decentralized industrialization drive through One District Factory initiative.

He added that, since its inception in 5 months, over 74 extension officers have been trained in modern cashew grafting and agronomic practices, 4 million coffee seedlings have been raised and currently distributed to farmers and over 11 million cashew seedlings are ready and also undergoing grafting to be supplied to the farmers.

Again, through the collaboration with the seed production unit of Ghana cocoa board, about 46 million cocoa and 4million seedlings of coffee, are ready for distribution to our farmers and It is estimated that about 300,000 hectares of farm lands will be covered this year.

Hon Collins Ntim posited that, to prevent food losses, ensure food security and promote improved nutrition government is implementing some interventions, including institutional measures, to prevent food losses, such as the district warehousing policy, promoting the production and utilization of locally grown and nutrient-rich foods, strengthening early warning and emergency preparedness systems; developing and implementing a nutrition strategy which adopts a life cycle approach to deal with malnutrition at all levels,reviewing and scale up the regenerative health and nutrition programme (RHNP),                eliminating child and adult obesity, promoting research and development in food and nutrition security (FNS).

In conclusion, the deputy minister for local government incharge of rural economic development and agaric(Hon Collins Ntim) said the livelihood empowerment against poverty (LEAP), which provides stipends to vulnerable households, has been nearly doubled to cover some two hundred and thirteen thousand (213,000) households and ender actions women-specific responses to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2 have been put in place, which includes actions aimed at reducing cultural and administrative limitations that impede women’s access to productive resources, particularly access to credit and agricultural equipment, medium and small loans center directed to disburse 50 per-cents of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses, the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), which provides hot meals daily to pupils of public schools, has also been expanded from four thousand, eight hundred and eighty one (4,881) institutions to cover five thousand, five hundred and twenty eight (5,528) institutions as of today.

“The National Rural Development Policy is being formulated to guide efforts at ensuring a coordinated rural development in the country. It seeks to harmonise and provide guidance to all programmes geared towards the development of the rural areas in a way that reduces poverty and hunger in the rural

areas and the achievement of the SDGs especially ending poverty in all forms everywhere in Ghana and also end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition alongside the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

Source: Ghana/otecfmghana.com

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