WA, GHANA, Ghana has launched a “Planting for food and jobs campaign” in the country’s Upper West Region (Province) with a call to the people to take up farming as a full-time or part-time activity.

The launch took place Monday alongside the inauguration of the regional government’s Implementation Committee and an earlier orientation for 86 graduates recruited from agricultural colleges as Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs), who will advise farmers in the region on the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and on pest management to optimize productivity of selected crops under the programme.

The campaign, which has been structured along the lines of the “Operation Feed Yourself” programme of the 1970s, will focus on four key value chains — maize, rice, soybean and sorghum — as well as promote peri-urban vegetable production this year.

Ebenezer Aboagye, the Acting Director for Plant Protection and Regulatory Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), launched the campaign in the region on behalf of the Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.

He noted that other campaigns would be extended to include industrial crops, cash crops and livestock, among other areas, in subsequent years.

The targeted value chains will see maize production being increased by at least 30 per cent, rice production by 49 per cent, soybean by 25 per cent and sorghum production by 28 per cent while backyard gardening will focus on the production of vegetables such as tomato, onion and pepper, among others, to improve nutrition and health.

The programme covers all 10 regions of the country, he said, adding that while maize and rice production would be carried out across the country, soybean and sorghum production would be concentrated in Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions as the two crops grew well in these three regions.

He said the campaign was anchored on five strategic pillars — provision of improved seeds; provision of fertilizers; provision of dedicated extension services; marketing; and E-agriculture platform.