By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Goaso (B/A), April 20, GNA – Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said 1,000 metric tonne capacity warehouse would be constructed in each of the 216 districts.
He said the warehouses would provide handling and storage for the surpluses which are anticipated under the “Planting for Food and Jobs” campaign.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday launched the campaign in Goaso, in the Asunafo North Municipality of Brong-Ahafo Region.
The campaign is an intervention and forms part of government’s efforts to generate more wealth in the agricultural sector, improve livelihoods of farmers and fisher folks and help grow the national economy.
It focuses on five key crops – maize, rice, soya bean, sorghum and vegetables.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Dr Akoto said there is the need for the government to provide ready market support and storages facilities to control post-harvest losses.
He said the provision of such marketing infrastructure for food crops would be unprecedented in the history of public policy in the country.
These infrastructures, when constructed would be leased out to private sector operators to process, store and market farm produce, Dr Akoto adding that government would use its procurement functions to create demand for the anticipated surpluses of the campaign.
In this regard, the sector minister said his ministry would enter into a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministries of Gender, Education and Health to ensure that the purchase of food stuffs for the School Feeding Programme, colleges, hospitals give priority to the surpluses of the campaign.
Dr Akoto said this year the campaign would be focused on a selected target group of up to 200,000 farmers in all the 216 districts adding that the number would be increased steadily to reach at least five million farmers by 2020.
Mr Daniel Asiedu, the Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank, said the bank has established a credit line of GH¢150 million to support government and MOFA to meet the payment requirements for agro-inputs supplied to the beneficiaries under the programme.
Additionally, he said, the bank has also set aside GH¢300 million as credit facility to support various projects in the agricultural value chain for the 2017 financial year.
Mr Asiedu said his outfit intended to pre-finance a number of agro-inputs suppliers selected by the MOFA, as well as assist hardworking farmers participating in the programme who intend to expand their operations.GNA