Planting For Food And Jobs Programme: It Is Still Our Messiah – Deputy Minister For Food And Agriculture.

The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo says the Planting for Food and Jobs programme introduced by President Akufo-Addo remains the most effective way to ensure food security in the country.

Speaking with host of PM Express Business Edition, George Wiafe, he said “[Planting for Food and Jobs programme] is still our messiah. It is the way to go.”

His comment comes at a time when many are concerned about the increase in prices of foodstuff, the bird flu and the halt in the importation of tomatoes into the country due to the Tomato Torado virus (ToTV).

But according to Mr. Frimpong Addo, the glitch is temporary and would be resolved before the end of the year.

He likened the current state of the programme to a baby hit with measles.

“What hit us this year can be likened to a baby born looking so good and then suddenly some measles comes to attack the baby. The baby before the measles was walking and getting ready to run, then measles came, slowed the baby down. That does not mean the baby will not walk and run. That is what is happening to the whole policy of planting for food and jobs.”

He further implored that “we should not overlook the fact that the year 2020 was a challenging year for the whole world and being good neighbours, we produced quite enough. We felt that we had enough and maybe relaxed our game somehow and our neighbouring countries came to buy a lot of our products away. Before we realized it, we were running into shortage.”

The Deputy Minister reiterated that “it is not policy failure because we thought we had enough.”

Mr Frimpong Addo also blamed the food shortage on the weather patterns the country experienced.

“Last year, in spite of everything, the weather played a trick on us especially in the middle belt, forest area and some part of the southern belt. We have two planting seasons but in the north, they have just one. As we speak, this is the time they are planting. In the period where we needed to plant, the rains failed us,” he said.

However, Mr Frimpong Addo noted that some foodstuffs such as yam are abundant on the market with relatively stable prices whiles some food crops including maize comes at a higher cost.

He disclosed that by the end of September, farmers would have harvested large quantities of maize adding that high prices of foodstuffs on the market would be reduced by the end of the year.

“When you go to the market, yam is in abundance. It is the demand and supply playing tricks on everybody. The prices are stable right now. When it comes to the vegetables, some of them are quite expensive now because some of the farmers are yet to harvest the vegetables they planted. A lot of farmers are yet to cultivate the maize they planted. By August-ending, September, some of them will begin to harvest.

“In November, December, naturally, prices will go down. By Christmas, things wouldn’t be as they are now,” he concluded.

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