Planting for Food and Jobs is a friendly package to encourage Ghanaians to take farming more seriously than in the recent past. The objective of this program is to ensure food security and create employment for the youth. This begs the question of whether it is a sustainable project or not.
Paradoxically, a country with more than half of its population being farmers has struggled over the years to uplift the noble profession to a standard that will be attractive to the youth of our dear nation.
Ask any kid in Ghana the career path they will want to choose when they grow up and the regular answers will be doctor, engineer, lawyer, and pilot. Hardly will the farming profession ever be mentioned. This clearly shows that the distaste for farming is embedded in the DNA of many Ghanaians especially the elites.
The narrative has always been that farming is reserved for villagers, illiterates, and dropouts. Another school of thought suggests that farmers are highly impoverished and backward. As a result, many don't even consider it as a worthy career path to choose.
The schools in the country have also adversely contributed to the disinterests in farming by the youth. Wedding and digging of trenches have been employed by schools as punishments for recalcitrants who flout school rules and regulations. A lot of the Ghanaian youth have been subjected to this form of punishment at a point in time in the course of their education.
Astonishingly, the treatment that was meted out to me at the University of Ghana, fits perfectly in this discourse. I used to be mocked at the University for choosing Agricultural science as my course of study. Friends will pass silly remarks; as to why my parents were wasting money on my fees just to pursue a useless course like agric. It was all jokes then but it clearly epitomizes how the youth's perception of farming and agriculture in general truly is. Even the highly educated needs more education on this subject matter as well.
It is now instructive to note that, for project planting for food and jobs to work, the general perception of Ghanaians must be reoriented. The adaptation of local farm terminologies such as 'Afuom and cocoa ase korasini' as insults must be nipped in the bud. Also, schools should refrain from using farming techniques such as weeding as punishment.
Agricultural science subject should be introduced at the primary level of education to boost the interest of the young ones. Furthermore, a conscious effort should be made by all and sundry to change the narratives that have made farming unattractive to Ghanaians all over the years. This I believe should have been the primary focus of MOFA before going ahead to roll out PFJ.
A boost in the interest of agriculture will automatically boost our food security.
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