Planting For Food and Jobs: Assessing the Impact of Phase I and the Fate of Phase II

The government’s primary agricultural campaign, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) – which was launched on 19th April 2017 – has five (5) implementation elements. The first PFJ module (Crops) aims to support food security, the immediate marketability of chosen food crops, and the creation of jobs. The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) project was officially inaugurated including all its modules in Goaso in the then-Brong Ahafo Region by H. E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.

The five modules of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)

  • Food crops,
  • Planting for Export and Rural Development,
  • Greenhouse Technology Village (3 Villages),
  • Rearing for Food and Jobs, and
  • Agricultural Mechanization Services.

The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) had four primary objectives. This included;

  • To ensure immediate and adequate availability of selected food commodities.
  • To provide job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the agriculture and allied sectors.
  • To create general awareness for all formal workers and public institutions to farm and establish backyard gardens, and
  • To serve as food import substitution.

Amount of Money Invested into the Planting for Food & Jobs (PFJ) Program

The minister for agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, revealed on the Joy Super Morning Show that GHS 2.6 billion has so far been invested into the PFJ program in six (6) years as of June 2022. The chart below summarizes the amount of funds invested into the Phase I of the PFJ according to the respective budget statements

Assessing the Impact of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Phase I

Under the PFJ project, 2,160 university graduates, 1,070 young people were recruited nationwide in 2017, and 201,000 farmers were registered. The 2018 budget statement states that beneficiary farmers received 121,000 MT of subsidized fertilizers (out of a target of 233,356 MT) and 4,454.98 MT of subsidized seeds (of vegetables, sorghum, rice, and maize) out of a target of 5,767.50 MT. In comparison to 2016, the agriculture industry saw notable output increases in 2017. The yields of soya and maize rose by 150% from 1 MT/ha to 2.5 MT/ha, 67% from 1.8 MT/ha to 3.0 MT/ha, and 48% from 2.7 MT/ha to 4.0 MT/ha. Due to the PFJ’s expansion, a total of 577,000 farmers received subsidized fertilizers and seeds in 2018, as opposed to a target of 500,000 farmers. Furthermore, in 2018, the nation received the distribution of 183,000 MT of fertilizers, 7,600 MT of seeds, and planting materials for cassava. 920,000 farmers who qualified received 331,354 MT of fertilizers and 18,333 MT of improved seeds in 2019. The quantity of improved seeds and fertilizers supplied to farmers who were eligible for assistance climbed to 29,500MT and 424,000MT, respectively, in 2020. In 2019, the yield of soya reached 2.2 mt/ha, rice reached 2.7 mt/ha, and maize reached 3.8 mt/ha.

According to the data from, the quantity of maize and rice produced in Ghana showed a massive increase from 2017 to 2020 as compared to previous years.

From the data above, there was a fluctuation in the quantity of maize produced from 2010 to 2016 but that of 2017 to 2020 saw an increase in production, however, there was a significant difference between 2018 and 2019; and the quantity of rice produced increased gradually from 2012 after a decrease in 2011 and there was also a significant difference between 2018 and 2019. The significance between 2018 and 2019 for both crops can be likened to the fact that PFJ was fully adopted by the majority in this period after its implementation. 

The agriculture sector saw a growth of 6.1% in 2017 and this was largely driven in part by a 7.0% growth in the non-cocoa crops subsector which was facilitated by the roll-out of the PFJ programme (Budget Statement, 2019). 

Despite the above positive impacts, phase I of Planting for Food and Jobs had its leakages which led to the gradual fading out of the project. Since the implementation of the PFJ in 2017, it operated on a 50% subsidy on inputs from that period to 2020, then dropped to 38% in 2021 and then 15% in 2022. Engagement with distributors revealed that they decided to opt-out of the PFJ program and sold their inputs at the open market price in 2022. This is because the difference between the PFJ prices and open market prices was minimal. Considering the stress they have to go through in getting their forms prepared and endorsed to claim their arrears from the government and sometimes paying monies to get their documents endorsed compelled them to go back to the open market system.

Given this, I can boldly say that the decline in subsidies from 50% since its implementation in 2017 to 38% in the 2021 crop season, and then again dropped to 15% in the 2022 crop season contributed to the failure of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ). Speaking to some stakeholders, the failure of phase I of PFJ was also due to the hoarding of fertilizers by distributors after being inspected by the monitoring team. Some of these distributors re-bag the fertilizers into open market sacks and sell them at a higher price and also maneuver their ways to prepare false documents for them to be paid by the government with the taxpayers’ money. 

In other cases, some distributors do not receive any inputs but instead, take inputs from friends’ warehouses that have received inputs to their warehouses for inspection purposes before returning them to the owner and preparing false documents to receive payments and share the income percentage-wise among themselves.

These individuals are able to elude detection because the sector only visits distributor warehouses when they “claim” to have received inputs, but what happens following the inspection by the monitoring team is in the hands of the distributors.

In light of these, the newly appointed sector minister, Dr. Bryan Acheampong, decided to put the PFJ program on hold until 2023. This decision was noted by Ghanaweb’s publication, which stated, “the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has put the PFJ program subsidy on hold, and will not continue in 2023 after six years of implementation.” It goes on to add that instead of the yearly subsidies on inputs, which have grown costly to maintain, the industry is interested in a more sustainable way of funding fertilizer and seeds for farmers.

Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II

The planting for food and jobs phase II which was launched in August 2023 by the President, is been designed to tackle head-on the hurdles on our food security journey. In this new model, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is replacing the subsidy system with the input credit system where aggregators will have access to credit guarantees to procure improved inputs for farmers on zero-interest credit terms.

This means that farmers will no longer need to mobilize upfront financing for land development and preparation as seeds and fertilizers, which together constitute about 80% of the production cost under PFJ 2.0. This new model, termed as, the Input Credit System, seeks to solve the following challenges:

  • Access to credit
  • Quality of agro-inputs
  • Unstructured markets of agricultural produce
  • Low mechanization

The PFJ 2.0 is a five-year plan to attain food and raw material self-sufficiency in the following 10 crops and poultry:

  • Vegetables – tomato, onion and pepper
  • Grains – rice, maize, soya and sorghum
  • Plantain, Roots, and Tubers – cassava and cocoyam
  • And poultry which emphasizes on broiler production and processing

According to the 2024 budget, the PFJ 2.0 prioritizes value chain approaches and strengthens connections between participants in the value chains for qualified agricultural commodities, which are generally divided into grains, roots and tubers, vegetables, and poultry.

According to paragraph 110 of the 2024 budget, PFJ 2.0 seeks to improve the availability and use of high-quality inputs, make it easier for aggregators to obtain credit guarantees so they can buy better seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides, and provide them to farmers on short-term, zero-interest credit terms.

The Failure of Planting for Food and Jobs and the Fate of PFJ 2.0

The idea of granting aggregators access to credits to procure inputs for farmers in the long term will not yield a viable positive impact due to the following points of view;

  1. The selection of aggregators to give them access to credit loans is going to be politicized and the credit loans will get into the wrong hands.
  2. When this happens farmers will not get access to the credit inputs as the credits obtained by the aggregators will not be used for its purpose.
  3. In the instance where aggregators supply credit inputs to farmers, recovering that amount from the farmers in return for their farm produce by the aggregators is going to be a difficult task, as some farmers will act smart to sell their produce elsewhere and this is going to cost the government.
  4. In 2017 under PFJ 1.0, inputs (seeds and fertilizers) supplied to farmers were 50% subsidized and farmers were to pay 25% upfront and 25% after harvest but some farmers defaulted in the payment of the remaining 25%. The Agric Ministry couldn’t recover most of these loans from farmers and this same issue is bound to happen under PFJ 2.0.
  5. The supply of inputs to farmers by aggregators is going to be delayed as aggregators will have to go through due process before getting access to credits to procure inputs for farmers.


Planting for Food and Jobs initiative is to help grow the economy but problems were encountered under PFJ 1.0 due to inadequate stakeholder consultations just to achieve political gains. I will recommend to the government to delay implementing PFJ 2.0 in order to avoid financial loss, as was the case with PFJ 1.0. Instead, proper stakeholder consultations should be held in order to reevaluate the concept and its entirety.

Additionally, I think that farmers would be willing to purchase high-quality inputs at a reasonable price, so I will advise the government to concentrate on lowering agricultural taxes rather than the proposed intervention, which will only serve to enrich a select few and have no positive impact on the expansion of our economy.

Article by

Joshua Larweh Tetteh

Joshua is the Programs Manager and Policy Scholar at YAFO Institute. He works along with the other executives to plan, organize, and carry out activities in accordance with the organization’s goal and vision. Joshua received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

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