Farmers and other agriculture value chain players, including agric extension and crop services directorate officers, have called on the government to modify the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, a study has shown.
The Study, which assessed the PFJ for the 2022 planting season, showed that the implementation of PFJ had not benefited the farmers and consequently reduced the food supply in 2022, leading to high prices of food items in the market.
The players made the call at a validation and budget credibility workshop on the 2022 PFJ, where sector players, development partners and officials from the government agencies discussed solutions to fill the gaps identified.
In all about 1,116 respondents, including peasant, small-holder, medium-scale farmers and some commercial farmers took part in the survey.
The findings indicate that 71 per cent respondents felt the PFJ ought to be modified, 12 percent wanted the programme to be maintained in its current form whilst 17 per cent wanted it to be scrapped.
The farmers reported that seed supplied under the PFJ had poor germination rates and so some grains had to be packaged as seeds in some cases.
Nearly 80 per cent of the farmers said seeds supplied under the PFJ were inferior while about 15 per cent had no challenge with it.
The Study also assessed the quality and prices of fertilizer on the market, including government subsidized fertilizer, however, it found out that the farmers wanted the fertilizer subsidy to be scrapped and the funds invested in irrigation and mechanisation activities.
'Farmers complained of little or no difference between open market abd subsidised fertilizer for 2022,' the Study said.
About 92 per cent of the respondents said prices of fertilizer for the year 2022 was high, adding that high cost of transportation, exchange rates and low subsidies were factors that led to the price hikes.
In dealing with the fertilizer price hikes, the farmers resorted to a number mechanism where 85 per cent had to reduce their farm sizes and 99 per cent had to reduce the quantity of fertilizer applied to their crops.
The Study again showed that 80 per cent of the farmers had to shift from the cultivation of food crops to other crops and 15 per cent had totally abandoned their farms to look for other economic opportunities.
On the quality of fertilizer, 80 per cent of the respondents complained of poor quality while 15 per cent said the quality met their expectations.
Dr Charles Nyaaba, Executive Director, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and one of the lead researchers, said, the number of farmers that reduced their farm sizes and left the sector to engage in other activities affect the quantity of food supplied in the market.
'It is not that farmers don't want cheaper fertilizer but the subsidised fertilizer scheme has failed. There's no value in subsidy yet th government spends huge sum of tax payer money to pay fertilizer importers,' he said.
Quantitative information was gathered from peasant farmers, medium-scale farmers and some commercial farmers while the qualitative information were from expert views and interviews from input dealers, agric extension officers, officers from the crop services directorate across the regions.
The Study was carried out with support from the International Budget Partnership, GIZ and OXFAM.
Source: Ghana News Agency