Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), one of the modules under the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) is tasked with the development of the value-chains of six selected crops namely rubber, mango, coconut, oil palm, cashew and Shea under the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA)for the local industries and export. Overall, the programme seeks to strategically position Ghana as a leading world producer of cashew in the next 5 to 10 years.
As an advocate for TCDA, Dr Owusu Afriyie was ecstatic to see evidence of work ongoing under this initiative during his 5-day tour to the middle belt of Ghana. In comparing his tour last to this recent tour, there’s been an increase in farmers joining the programme. This significant increase cuts across the regions he visited.
Amidst the shortage of fertilizer, more farmers received more seeds and fertilizers this year to farm.
Dr Owusu Afriyie made some observations in three of the regions: Bono, Bono East and Ashanti where the existence of quite a number of valleys could be exploited for rice production. Ghana could be self-sufficient if we capitalize on this and reduce the drudgery of the women groups in the area already into rice farming by equipping them with machinery. Dr Owusu Afriyie believes more of these groups and even individuals producing rice when encouraged and supported could be beneficial to the state.
According to the agric minister, they discovered an emerging tomato production in the Bono region. To ensure a ready market for the tomato crop, a well-equipped tomato factory has sprung up in the area in full work mode adding value to the tomatoes ready to be exported within and across regions in the world. Another site they visited was a pineapple plantation taking value addition to the top.