The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentarian is convinced that it is statistically impossible for the government to claim it has created 745,000 jobs from its flagship agricultural program, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The Minority spokesperson on Agriculture, Eric Opoku, government’s own records show at best it created 822 jobs for agricultural extension officers.
The Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said last week that 745,000 jobs were created through the areas of inputs like fertiliser and distribution of surplus food resulting from the programme.
The jobs, he said, are to be found in the rural areas.
But the Asunafo South NDC MP has ridiculed the Minister’s claim.
He pointed out the government failed to meet its own target it set for fertiliser distribution needed for the farmers to improve their yields and create jobs.
The spokesperson said, of the more than 235,000 metric tonnes the Agriculture Ministry budgeted for last year, only 100,000 metric tonnes were supplied.
This is about 43% of the targeted supply he said, and went ahead to do the maths.
“If you wanted to use 235,00 metric tonnes of fertiliser to create 745,000 and you are able to supply just 43% definitely you cannot create that quantum of jobs as you envisaged.
“It can never be found anywhere in our country…it is never true..it is factually inaccurate,” the NDC MP told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gapko.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s own data shows that even the 882 extension officers were employed under the Youth Employment program, he said.
The program is a government-run agency to provide short-term jobs.
The Minority said the Minister’s claim could qualify for “a big joke of the year”.
The Planting for Food and Jobs program is the Akufo-Addo government’s blueprint for turning the fortunes of an ailing agricultural sector.
The implementation of the programme was anchored on five pillars — the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilisers, the provision of dedicated extension services, marketing arrangements to ensure zero post-harvest losses and an electronic platform to capture and monitor the activities of participating farmers.
Under the programme which was started with a seed capital of GHS560 million, about 200,000 farmers have been provided with fertilizers as well as other farming inputs.