The Agricultural Development Bank (adb) has announced a total of GH¢450 million to, among other initiatives, support the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
The fund, according to Mr Daniel Asiedu, Managing Director of the Bank, is expected to meet the payment requirements for the agro inputs supplied to beneficiaries under the programme and also support viable agricultural initiatives in 2017.
Mr Asiedu explained that GH¢150million is directly going to support the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs programme’ with GH¢300 million serving as credit facility to support various viable projects in the agricultural value chain for the 2017 financial year.
Mr Asiedu who was speaking after recent launch of the initiative at Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo Region pledged the unflinching support of the Bank in partnering the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to successfully implement the objectives of the policy.
“The Bank will assist the hardworking farmers participating in the programme to expand their operations to transit into successful commercial farmers by providing the necessary support,” he said.
Mr Asiedu added that ADB would pre-finance a number of agro input suppliers selected by the MoFA under the programme.
“We at ADB endorse this great initiative and will like to use this opportunity to call on other financial institutions to do likewise by allocating funds for agricultural financing,” he added.
Launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the programme is designed to increase agricultural production, ensure sustainable supply of food at cheaper cost and create about 750,000 direct and indirect jobs for farmers and the youth.
Additionally, it is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent, rice by 49per cent, soybean by 25per cent and sorghum by 28per cent from the current production levels.
It also seeks to create general awareness and encourage workers in both the formal and the informal sectors and the unemployed to grow grain crops and vegetables in open spaces, including backyards in urban areas.
President Akufo-Addo declared that ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ was the answer to the modernisation of agriculture, which was expected to end the migration of the youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs.
“Food is unnecessarily expensive in the country that is blessed with fertile land. Our production methods are not modern and income levels of farmers and fisher folk remain low, making the sector unattractive to the youth as a viable means of livelihood,” he said.