Govt should invest in farm inputs to boost food production – TWN-Africa study

A study into the impact of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme has recommended to the government to invest in the local production of fertilizer, and other farm inputs to boost food production.

The study noted that it had be­come necessary for the country to reduce the reliance on the western countries for fertilizer and farm inputs to enhance the structural transformation of agriculture.

The study titled: ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and One District One Factory (1D1F),’ indicated that the high cost of farm inputs, particularly fertilizer remained a challenge to farmers, hampering food production.

The study, conducted by the TWN-Africa, was to assess the impact of the PFJ and 1D1F in Gomoa East, Gomoa West and Gomoa Central, in the Central Re­gion, noted for maize and potato farming.

The Lead Researcher, Dr Fausti­na Obeng, presented highlights of the study at a validation and dissemination workshop on the PFJ and 1D1F study in Accra yesterday.

She said the local production of inputs, particularly fertilizers, was necessary to offset the intended consequences of import uncer­tainties on availability and afford­ability of farm inputs for farmers.

Dr Obeng stated that a buoyant fertilizer manufacturing industry would require long-term investment from the government.

She also said the PFJ had been successful, and through the im­plementation of the programme, maize production in the three dis­tricts, where the study was conduct­ed had increased.

Dr Obeng added that maize pro­ductivity increased from 2-6 bags per hectare to 9-19 per hectare in the areas under study.

She called for an effective and sustainable output market to help create available market for farmers, saying the PFJ focused more on in­put supply to farmers than market for their produce.

Dr Obeng further suggested a mass input subsidy programme with selective credit scheme for a sustainable and equitable input subsidy programme.

On the 1D1F, she explained that some 1D1F companies were strug­gling due to the lack of availability of raw materials.

Moreover, she said those compa­nies were competing for raw mate­rials in the open market, which was not a sustainable business practice.

Dr Obeng noted that the fi­nancial assistance the government gave to some beneficiary factories under the 1D1F were not enough, and they needed additional capital injection from their owners.

The Coordinator of the TWN-Africa, Dr Yao Graham, said his outfit decided to conduct the study on the PFJ and the 1D1F between 2021 and 2023 to enhance agriculture and industrialisation of the country.

He said the country needed eco­nomic transformation, which meant reversal of the colonial economic model which was focused on the export of raw materials.

The government in 2017 intro­duced PFJ and 1D1F to enhance and expand agricultural in the country.

It is to strengthen domestic food production as well as create jobs and revive the domestic manufac­turing industry as part of the indus­trialisation agenda of the country.

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