The second phase of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ 2.0) is set to receive a substantial boost, with the government allocating GH¢1 billion to the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
This strategic move is part of the broader effort to implement the Economic Enclaves Project (EEP), designed not only to bolster the country’s food security and curb escalating food import costs but also to tackle the pressing issue of youth unemployment.
These funds will be specifically channeled into critical infrastructure projects, such as the development of irrigation systems, canals, and the preparation of land for private sector stakeholders participating in the EEP.
The announcement of this allocation was made by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta during the presentation of the 2024 budget in parliament. PFJ 2.0’s second phase will emphasize large-scale commercial agriculture, focusing on leveraging economies of scale, embracing technology for enhanced efficiency, and supporting initiatives for price stabilization.
This initiative underscores the government’s unwavering commitment to securing and cultivating lands, ensuring a stable foundation for large-scale agricultural investments that will significantly contribute to increased agricultural production in the country.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inaugurated PFJ 2.0 in August 2023, with a heightened emphasis on value chain approaches and fortifying linkages within eligible agricultural value chains. PFJ 2.0 is geared towards optimizing the supply and utilization of high-quality inputs, facilitating credit guarantees for aggregators, and fostering support for private commercial agriculture under the EEP.
As of December 2022, operational Economic Enclaves (EEPs) were established in Kasunya (Greater Accra), Kumawu (Ashanti), and Banda (Oti Region). An additional five enclaves are scheduled for establishment in 2024, with a focus on promoting value addition and creating economic growth hubs.
The three operational EEPs are anticipated to yield 160,000 metric tons of rice by the end of 2024, covering over 110,000 acres of land and targeting a minimum of 5,000 jobs.
“PFJ 2.0 has a special focus on poultry to address the heavy reliance on imports. Accordingly, fifteen anchor farmers and 500 out-growers in five regions (Ashanti, Greater Accra, Bono, Bono East and Eastern) will be selected to produce 65,000mt of broilers in 2024,” he said.
He stated that urgent action is needed to close the large gap between domestic vegetable production and demand, particularly in light of the effects of recent supply disruptions from the Sahelian region.
“The engagements with onion producers and importers prior to this 2024 budget revealed the importance of developing an ‘onion index’ to track production, distribution and consumption of the commodity.
“It also emerged during the engagements that in 2022 demand for onions was 314,337mt, while the local production was 178,492mt. In addition, the national demand for tomatoes in 2022 was estimated to be 1,257,348mt, while local production stood at 468,280mt. These are two prominent vegetables in the Ghanaian household,” the minister further stated.