Dr Brian Achampong, Minister of Food and Agriculture has urged the Ghanaian youth, to utilize the opportunities and potential under the Planting for Food and Jobs phase II (PFJ 2.0) initiative to better their livelihoods.
He said the initiative was a call to action for the youth, the largest constituency, to partner with the government to reconstruct the country’s agricultural system and ensure food security.
Dr. Bryan who was speaking at the Youth in Agriculture Conference held in Accra said the PFJ 2.0 had prioritised the involvement of the youth in its implementation to create jobs and transform the economy.
PFJ 2.0 is a five-year strategic intervention, borne out of major challenges, gaps, and unacceptable state of affairs reflected by some indicators in the agriculture sector.
Already, the Minister said a preliminary conversation had started between the Ministry and the Youth and Employment Agency (YEA) about the form such collaboration would take to ensure commitment on both sides.
“On the side of Government, the immense opportunities that come with the input credit system introduced under PFJ 2 and complimentary interventions through the establishment of agriculture zones and economic enclaves were brought to the fore,” he said.
“For its part, YEA elaborated their intended support to the programme through capacity building, access to land, and payment of stipends to beneficiaries at early stages of the programme.” He noted that the meeting marked a giant step for collaboration between the Government and the youth to harness the potential of agriculture effectively.
Dr. Achampong urged the youth to volunteer suggestions to strengthen the collaboration between the Government and the youth to implement the initiative to achieve the goal of greater involvement in the sector to ensure the value chain delivers enough food and creates jobs sustainably.
“The most heartrending being low self-sufficiency in some of our food products including rice, vegetables, and poultry. This is in spite of appreciable successes chalked under the initial PFJ flagship programme rolled out in April 2017,” he said.
Dr. Achampong the PFJ made significant inroads in food production on the back of the input subsidy programme, increased local capacity for seed production, crop diversification into tree crops, expansion of the Agriculture Mechanization Services Center programme through the acquisition of a variety of machinery and equipment to support farming and provision of agriculture infrastructure such irrigation facilities, warehouses and greenhouse production and training centers. The initiative is seeking to among others reduce food price inflation, build food systems resilience, and promote import substitution and exports.
To assure the youth, achieving these objectives will inherently lead to the creation of job opportunities along the agriculture value chain. An input credit model, around which the programme revolves ensures easy entry into agribusiness.