The number of farmers in Upper West Region who registered under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme hit 30,314 in April 2018 with the figure projected to climb by May ending as farming season jumpstarts.
Though more farmers are trooping to register in the ongoing registration exercise, the latest figure is far in excess of what was recorded same period last year.
Officials pegged the number of 2017 registrants at 29,349, an indication that many farmers are beginning to appreciate the importance of the initiative meant to boost food production and create job avenues to tackle Ghana’s chronic unemployment situation.
The number of female farmer registrants had more than doubled from 3,266 in 2017 to 7,767 in 2018, which officials say is a boost to women empowerment and recognition of female farmers’ contribution to agriculture.
The number of male farmers, however, decreased from 26,083 in 2017 to 22,547 in 2018.
Lawra Municipal, Sissala West and Wa East Districts recorded decreases in the farmer registrations with Wa East recording a drastic reduction from 3,997 beneficiaries in 2017 to 796 in 2018.
Wa Municipal maintained its position as the one with the highest number of beneficiaries soaring from 5,200 in 2017 to 6,302 this year.
Mr Huudu Abu, the Upper West Regional Crops Officer of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) disclosed the statistics to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa in an interview.
He attributed the increase in number of beneficiaries in 2018 to the intensive public education campaign on the programme by MOFA and other stakeholders including the media.
He said new crops and vegetables such as groundnut, cassava, kokumba, cabbage; carrot and lettuce had been added to the cultivated crops under the PFJPs programme this year.
Last year, maize, rice, sorghum, soy bean, pepper, onion and tomato were the crops and vegetables cultivated under the programme.