By Isaac Arkoh, GNA
Elmina (C/R), Feb. 7, GNA - It is evidently clear that the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) policy initiative has given strong boost to the bumper harvest of maize and pepper in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region.
Beaming with pride and smiles, some vegetable farmers confirmed their obvious excitements to the GNA saying "the PFJ has significantly improved our lives."
"Last season, I sold over 20 bags of pepper and 56 bags of maize as compared with 5 and 23 bags of the same crops in the previous year. The numbers keep increasing and I hope to double it this year", says Mr Kojo Abakah, a proud PFJ beneficiary.
According to him, together with other vegetable and cereals farmers, they cultivated over 21 acres of the crops last year and hope to quadruple it to maintain national food security.
Madam Naomi Arthur, a farmer who corroborated the story expressed their resolve to give equal attention to other vegetables including tomatoes, onion, pepper, lettuce, carrots among others.
Buttressing the farmers’ claims, Mr Peter Dick, the Municipal Director of Agric lauded the enthusiastic farmers for their determination to venture into vegetable farming as a viable means of generating income.
He attributed the bumper harvest to farmers’ adherence to strict agronomic practices and strong collaboration with determined extension agents, disease resistant seedlings and strict supervision.
In addition to that, a total of 1,366 farmers benefited from the exercise comprising of 1039 males and 327 females and two males with disabilities (PWDs).
More than 2,786 fertilizers were given to preferred farmers including 1,824 NPK and 962 Urea but the number decreased from 2,786 in 2017 to 1,313 in 2018 and promised a fruitful year.
Mr Dick urged farmers to adopt the best innovative methods which were less expensive to practice as it was not labour intensive and did not require big land space to practice.
Enhanced technology, according to him, was key in solving the problem of low ratio of farmers to extension officers through connecting the two parties remotely, as well as providing avenues for farmer-to-farmer extension services.
There is also the combination of mobile apps, radio, SMS and voice services which allowed farmers to receive information virtually rather than to physically interact with extension officers.
Also support services such as marketing of products, market access, payment system for agricultural products, information flow among stakeholders are all making a huge difference in the output of producers.
He pledged his outfit’s commitment to supporting the project to succeed and added that the successes of the farmers would be used as reference points to sensitise other communities to adopt and use the method to increase productivity.