The Cabinet has given approval for about 3,000 extension officers to be employed and deployed to support government’s flagship agriculture programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.
Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto,who announced this Monday said the approval was given last month and that processes for the recruitment exercise will start soon.
“We have had to go to cabinet for approval to employ nearly 3,000 officers to come back into the system to reawaken extension services, and approval has been given to us the last month or so and recruitment is going to start”, he said.
Extension services, the minister observed, has been relegated to the background for a long despite it being integral part of agriculture, indicating it has been “ran down completely”.
Owusu Afriyie Akoto is the Agriculture Minister
“I’m supposed to have 4400 extension officers running agriculture in the field with the farmers. As I speak to you, I have less than 2000; 1600 to be exact and of those, 80% are going on pension in the next three [to] four years so therefore the extension service has been completely alienated”, he bemoaned.
Speaking at an event by the Canadian government to donate vehicles and motorbikes to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Afriyie Akoto said government’s drive to boost agric in the country has necessitated need to revive the extension services in the sector.
A total of 216 vehicles were presented to Ghana to be given to district directors of agriculture and 3,000 motorbikes to be given to extension officers to help in their work.
Mr. Afriyie Akoto said the success of “Planting for Food and Jobs” will largely depend on having the “right and qualified people” on the field working alongside farmers to ensure the right things are done.
It is against this background he said the Ministry applied to Cabinet for approval for extension officers to be recruited.
Mr. Akoto also observed “the performance of agriculture for the last 10 years or so has not been a happy one, all the indicators are going southwards and the situation could not be allowed to continue”.
According to him the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme by the Akufo-Addo’s government is geared towards revamping the agricultural sector by supplying improved seeds, fertilizers, extension services and marketing services.
He added it is an immediate plan of the government to restore the extension service as soon as possible.
Meanwhile he has described as timely, the donation of the vehicles considering the logistical distress of the ministry, adding these logistics would help improve agriculture and help meet the target of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, launched the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme at Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo Region to among other things end the system of Ghana importing foodstuffs from neighbouring countries.