A project aimed at policing the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) agricultural policy to ensure that it makes the desired impact on farmers at the local level has been launched.
The project, which is a joint initiative of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and Trust Africa, also seeks to empower small-holder farmers with evidence-based research tools to track the implementation of the policy.
Dubbed: “Strengthening small-holder voices and participation in agricultural decision making”, the one-year project began last month and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The overall objective of the project is to ensure that the PFJ is inclusive and result-oriented, with a broad focus on achieving regional and global development targets, especially those on the Malabo Declaration and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
At the national launch of the project in Accra yesterday, the Programmes Coordinator for the PFAG, Mrs Victoria Adongo, explained that emphasis would also be placed on advocacy to increase government investment in agriculture.
“Through this project, the PFAG hopes to give credible data and evidence on increased participation in the PFJ, increased and active participation in the CAADP joint reviews and biennial review processes and evaluate the extent to which the PFJ is harnessed in achieving the CAADP country goals,” she said.
She explained that the PFAG would adopt strategies such as developing a monitoring and evaluation toolkit and zonal workshops to train farmer groups on the PFJ implementation, undertake field trips to selected districts and also give orientation to members of the association and other stakeholders.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, had stated that the PFJ created some 745,000 jobs in 2017, a figure that had been challenged by some farmer groups and civil society organisations (CSOs).
Touching on that issue, the Programmes Officer of the PFAG, Mr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, said: “The figure put out by the Agriculture Minister is contestable, even though we have not gathered empirical evidence to that effect. But it is worrying because the figure is being cited in other jurisdictions and policies may be formulated based on that number.”
He added that the project being undertaken by the PFAG would ensure that all claims that were made on the impact of the PFJ were backed with empirical evidence.
He said initial research conducted by the association showed that as of September last year, there were some implementation gaps that needed to be addressed.
“The seed growers and distributors, farmers and other players in the value chain were worried about the delay in the release of fertiliser and seeds, as well as funds for distributors of the inputs.
He said there was also weak consultation with stakeholders and that accounted for some of the implementation challenges.