By Jerry Azanduna, GNA
Bawku (U/E) Feb. 12, GNA – Mr Charles Akowtigah, Bawku Municipal Director of Agriculture has disclosed that 10,500 more farmers, especially the youth, have registered to take part in the 2019 Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, in the Bawku Municipality and its environs.
According to the Director, the figure keeps rising as more farmers register with the PFJ programme.
“About 60,000 farmers registered with the programme in 2017 and in the 2018 farming season the programme enrolled about 70, 000 farmers”.
Mr Akowtigah told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Bawku that more people continue to visit the office to register with the Directorate to secure inputs for the dry and the main farming seasons.
He said the PJF programme had brought some benefits to farmers in the area, including increased food production, adding that, the continued support of providing fertilizers, seeds and technical support, among others to farmers under the PJF programme was the motivation behind the increasing numbers.
He explained that the Directorate’s visits to farms in the area revealed that the farmers had been able to expand their farms under the programme.
He said the cost of inputs had been reduced drastically for farmers under the programme as compared to previous years when the programme was not running, indicating that, it had increased the interest of farmers, especially the youth, to venture into farming, leading to an improvement in their living conditions.
Mr Akowtigah said government had provided support to the Directorate, including the posting of a number of personnel from the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO), to provide extension services, as well as pickup vehicles and 12 motor bikes to tackle the transportation needs of the Directorate, to facilitate supervision and monitoring of the programme.
He said the Directorate was training about 70 input dealers across the Bawku Municipality to prepare them to deliver adequately to satisfy all participants on the programme this year, adding that, the Directorate had also equipped its personnel with the needed skills to handle an additional module, the “Rearing for Food and Jobs”.
He hinted that as part of efforts to make registration easier, the Directorate had created the E-Agricultural model platform to enable farmers to sit in the comfort of their homes and register for farm inputs and extension services, using their mobile phones.
The Director cautioned beneficiary farmers in the area not to sell the inputs given them and encouraged them to use it to promote food security.