SONA2024: Peasant Farmers Association deserts Akufo-Addo on PFJ phase 2 comments

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SONA2024: Peasant Farmers Association deserts Akufo-Addo on PFJ phase 2 comments
SONA2024: Peasant Farmers Association deserts Akufo-Addo on PFJ phase 2 comments

Africa-Press – Ghana. The Executive Director for the Peasant Farmers Association, Dr Charles Nyaaba, has said that phase two of the government’s flagship policy, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), is yet to be implemented.

His comments come on the back of President Akufo-Addo’s assertion that the targets of some selected foodstuffs, such as maize, rice, and pepper, except poultry, have all been “exceeded” under phase two of the PFJ programme.

“Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that production estimates for these priority products revealed that the planned targets for the year have been exceeded for all the products, except poultry,” said President Akufo-Addo while addressing the nation in his seventh State of the Nation Address on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, February 27.

However, Dr Nyaaba, in an interview with Alfred Ocansey, on Thursday, February 29, noted, amongst other things, that phase one of the PFJ programme focused on fertilizer and seeds, with the phase yet to be implemented.

“It is a fact that we were engaged in a process, not only we from the peasant farmers association. Various stakeholders and key actors—financial institutions, input suppliers—were all engaged separately by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture,” said Dr Nyaaba.

He further stated that following the engagements, “a module was designed focusing on the aggregator who is going to be the centre of PFJ phase two.”

According to Dr Nyaaba, the engagement on the aggregator took place in the latter part of 2023.

He further explained that the main focus of phase one of the PFJ programme was “fertilizer and seeds,” adding that, “but with the PFJ phase two, we were told that it will include everything, including mechanisation and financial services” and inputs, as well as linking the farmers to available markets for their produce.

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“So, to the best of my knowledge, I know the implementation is yet to take place,” he emphasised.

He added that many farmers are also aware that the implementation of phase two of the PFJ programme is yet to take place.

Dr Nyaaba further lamented over the lack of ready markets for the farmers due to the country’s porous borders, where similar but cheap goods are imported into the markets. The situation, he said, is pushing many farmers out of business.

“It is also a fact that many farmers at the moment are struggling to sell their maize and rice and this can partly be attributed to the importation of rice from our illegal borders, Abidjan border, Burkina Faso border—so consumers find those rice far cheaper than the locally produced rice,” Dr Nyaaba told Alfred Ocansey.

According to him, the situation compelled the association to directly buy some of the rice from its members in an attempt to create markets for these farmers.

According to the President, the second phase of the PFJ sets out a 5-year agenda to ensure food self-sufficiency and resilience.

“Strategic targets have been set for eleven (11) priority products in the immediate term (September to December 2023), short term (year 2024), medium term (2025–2026), and long term (2027–2028),” he said.

The selected products are maize, rice, soybeans, sorghum, tomato, pepper, onion, cassava, yam, plantain and poultry.

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