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Government To Launch Planting Of Food/Jobs Campaign   
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Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, said government would launch the planting of food and jobs campaign this year to encourage citizens to take up farming as a full or part time activity.

Rolling out agricultural plans from the 2017 Budget on Thursday in Parliament, he said the campaign was structured along the lines of the erstwhile “Operation Feed Yourself programme” in the 1970s and it would involve the production of maize, rice, soybeans, sorghum and vegetables with other crops being adopted in subsequent years.

He said the campaign would be anchored on five pillars namely; provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing and e-agriculture, and monitoring.

“This initiative is expected to increase the production of maize by 30 per cent from the current production levels, rice by 49 per cent, soya bean by 25 per cent and sorghum by 28 per cent. This will create 750,000 jobs in both direct and indirect employment,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the ministry would import improved seeds to augment any shortfall from the planting of food and job campaign.

He said the ministry would continue the fertilizer subsidy programme to help increase the productivity of farmers adding “to this effect we intend to distribute nationwide an expected 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidised fertilizer.’’ “In the medium term, we intend to modernize the sector to improve productivity and achieve food security and profitability for our farmers,” he said.

On the fisheries sub-sector, Mr Ofori-Atta said it would employ a significant number of the people, especially along the coastal areas. He said over the past years efforts had been made to also boost inland fishing and support aquaculture development.

He expressed the need to modernize the artisanal fishing methods to ensure sustainable fishing and also improve production level. “To modernise and transform the industry, the Ministry will complete phase one of the Anomabo Fisheries College to enhance research and knowledge-base in fisheries technology for all operators.

“It will also collaborate with relevant institutions and the private sector to develop modern landing sites and storage facilities at James Town, Cape Coast, Axim and Mumford,” he said.

Source: GNA

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