Work On Upgrading E-Agriculture Platform Takes Off - MoFA

Work has begun on the creation of a comprehensive e-agriculture platform to help in the implementation and monitoring of the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign.

Mr Paul Siamey, the Deputy Director of Extension Services, of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who announced this, on Thursday, said the exercise would improve upon the Ministry’s e-agriculture platform to make it more robust, effective and efficient.

Speaking at a Youth Forum on the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ Campaign, organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana, Mr Siamey said the Government had contracted Esoko to compile and create a national farmer biometric database that would be linked to the National Identification system and the e-agriculture platform.

The project, he said, was ongoing in the seven Southern regions of the country, after which the three northern regions would be covered.

The project involves registering farmers, their location, pictures, and farm size in digital formats for the database and also to help in monitoring.

The e-agriculture platform in one of the five strategic pillars for the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign, announced in the 2017 budget.

The campaign, which underscores the importance of agriculture to the development of Ghana’s economy, is aimed at reducing the food deficits and reducing food imports.

It also aims creating about 750,000 jobs within the Agriculture and related sectors. It would focus first on the maize, rice, soya and sorghum vale chains.

The other pillars, Mr Siamey said, were provision of high quality seeds, fertiliser, extension services, and marketing.
He explained that credible private sector seed producers would be engaged to provide the seeds to the farmers.
The Government would subsidise half (50 per cent) of the cost for the seeds.

“The farmers will be required to pay 50 per cent of the remaining cost upfront before collecting the seeds and pay the rest after harvest, through an arrangement that has been made with banks to collect the initial cost and through aggregators, identified by MoFA, for the purchase of the products,” he explained.

A similar arrangement would be made for fertiliser distribution, while the Ministry, in collaboration with the Youth Enterprise Authority, had also identified and recruited graduates from Agricultural Colleges, who would be deployed to the districts to complement the existing extension agents.

Professor Felix A. Asante, the Director of the Institute of Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER), urged the Government to ensure that the manufacturing sector was developed alongside the campaign by boosting agro-processing in order to ensure sustainable jobs.

“As a nation, we cannot let development be driven by the services sector,” he advised. “We want jobs in the productive sectors like Agriculture and Manufacturing.
The key to creating sustainable jobs in the agricultural sector was to focus on the link between Agriculture and Manufacturing: agro-processing.

Prof. Michael Tagoe, the Acting Provost of the College of Education and Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, emphasised the need for a new vision for agriculture that would see the sector as a ‘serious business’ and that would properly target the youth and support them to be agricultural entrepreneurs.

He said the youth were heterogeneous; thus the need to rightly classify them and tailor interventions and policies to their specific needs