The Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has indicated that he will not be swayed by critics of the government’s ‘Planting for food and jobs’ programme who claim that the programme is on a negative path.
He said he has first-hand information on the results of the programme from across the country and is convinced that the programme is nearing its point of full realization.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, the Minister said nobody in Ghana or across the world has the level of information he has on agriculture in the country.
“People hide behind big names and pretend that they are speaking for a certain group of people. I’m getting first-hand information to the extent that nobody in this country or anywhere in the world has the kind of information I have on Ghanaian agriculture,” he said.
Groups such as the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, General Agricultural Works Union and Food Sovereignty Ghana have recently been critical of the programme calling for it to be reviewed.
In different public statements, the groups said despite the heavy investments in the programme, the output has not been significant and the programme risks collapse.
But the minister said such assessments do not reflect the situation on the ground.
“We are making fantastic progress and I think it is something that is acknowledged by the farmers and stakeholders… They can criticize, but that does not mean that we should deviate from what we are doing especially when you can see demonstrably that the policy is working,” he stated.
He further indicated that the government’s investments in the sector have brought unprecedented value to farmers.
“We continue to review the situation to bring it where it belongs. We are taking other measures to make sure that the farmers are not worse off. The subsidies we are giving them is unprecedented. We’ve spent nearly half a billion dollars on the subsidies in the last five years,” he added.
He further said despite the cynicism by some Ghanaians about the programme, it is being appreciated by other countries who often come to Ghana to study its approach in agriculture.
“We have to be focused and follow the vision. And as far as we are concerned the vision is at the point of realization. Those outside see that Ghana is really beating a path to progress in agricultural transformation in Africa,” he said.