A team of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development of Malawi have undertaken a study of Ghana’s agricultural policies to replicate them in Malawi.
Their primary focus was the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and how Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) had been able to involve the youth in agriculture, especially in the area of the greenhouse technology where it had graduates at the centre.
The team, led by Chief Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr Yanira M. Ntupanyama, have since left Ghana after the week-long study tour which took them to various facilities of interest to MoFA.
Debriefing their Ghanaian counterparts last Friday before departure, Dr Ntupanyama explained that her country chose Ghana for best practices based on the success stories and praises Ghana earned anytime agricultural officials on the continent met.
She said through the Malabo Declaration and Malabo Commitment, the Africa Union (AU) had always praised Ghana for good agricultural policies that factored in the youth.
“The reason we are here is to learn about how you are implementing your agricultural programmes,” Dr Ntupanyama explained, adding that Malawi was implementing an agricultural programme known as the National Agricultural Development Plan to drive the agriculture in the country.
“But you know, you learn better when you hear from countries that have made progress and are being commended by the AU,” she explained and described the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme as a model that was worthy of emulation by her country.
The Project Coordinator of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach Support Project of Malawi, Mr Henry Msahlomo, described the PFJ as a good practice that the team would strongly recommend on their return.
Jobs for youth
He was particularly excited with the greenhouse technology, which was offering jobs for graduates of agriculture, explaining that the team would want to replicate Ghana’s involvement of the youth in agriculture, describing it as the way to go.
“The training of graduates in the greenhouse technology and the utilisation of the training programme by the Israeli Government is a model we will strongly recommend. We see a very good opportunity in that direction that we can tap from to support the young graduates in Malawi,” Mr Msahlomo said.
Vision of President
The acting Chief Director of the MoFA, Mr Robert Patrick Ankobiah, said the kind words from the visiting team was an indication that the ministry was performing well.
He explained that the positives that the team observed were being driven by President Nana Addo Dankwa AKufo-Addo’s vision of putting Ghana Beyond Aid which challenged all ministries to rise to the occasion.
Despite the positive outlook expressed in the report of the visiting team, they also observed Ghana’s heavy import of food items, but the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Perennial Crops, Mr George Oduro, said government was working to reverse the trend.
He said Ghana was the only country giving 50 per cent subsidies for fertilisers and said “some people among us are trying to sabotage the policy by smuggling these fertilisers across the borders”.
He said Ghana had initiated talks with neighbouring countries to overcome the smuggling, adding that one of the ways was the embossment of the PFJ on the fertiliser bags such that they could easily be identified.