Every responsible adult is always admonished to lead an independent lifestyle, which includes his or her capacity to feed himself or herself and his or her family.
Nation states are also encouraged to feed their people and have surplus for the rainy day.
Unfortunately for most parts of the developing world, hunger has become the bane of the development process. Quite often, their leaders go bowls in hand begging for handouts, including food, to feed their people.
In Ghana, agricultural productivity has been on the decline for some time now, necessitating the importation of all manner of food items. Indeed, our rice imports are mind boggling, running into many millions of dollars.
It is sad that the country which once was exporting rice to neighbouring African countries today imports the same produce from some Asian countries.
As if that is not painful enough to galvanise us to rethink the budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector, we continue to import food items from Sahelian countries — tomatoes and onions from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, cocoyam and plantain from Cote d’Ivoire and other vegetables from Togo and Benin.
Ghana’s mainstay has been agriculture; no doubt cocoa is our lifeline. However, for various reasons, including the unattractiveness of farming to the youth and the degradation of the forest, agricultural yields have been poor for several years.
The irony of our present predicament is that this is a country which, during the Operation Feed Yourself programme of the 1970s, turned every conceivable piece of land, including backyards, into fields of food production, harvesting tonnes of maize, cassava and plantain.
It is against this background that the Daily Graphic lauds the government’s flagship agricultural programme: ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, as a vehicle to revamp the agricultural sector.
Launching the programme, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the initiative had the answer to the modernisation of agriculture, which was expected to end the migration of the youth to the urban 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.
The Daily Graphic rallies support for the government’s agricultural policy to provide food and create jobs for the people.
The implementation of this ambitious policy rests on the shoulders of the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who needs the support of everybody, including the technocrats at his ministry, landowners, banks, chiefs and farmers, to make this initiative a resounding success.
That success will not be the government’s success but one that will change the fortunes of every Ghanaian.