GAWU calls for clarity on Phase Two of Food Initiative. In a recent development, the General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has called upon the government to provide comprehensive details regarding the upcoming phase two of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative. This second phase, as outlined in the 2023 mid-year review, has raised questions and concerns among stakeholders within the agricultural sector. GAWU Secretary, Mr. Edward Kareweh, emphasized the necessity of elucidating the precise strategies and objectives encompassed by this initiative. This call for clarity stems from a perceived lack of understanding surrounding key components such as the input credit system, storage and distribution infrastructure, commodity trading, and the proposed digitized platform.
Input Credit System and Subsidy Reduction
Mr. Kareweh highlighted that while phase two aims to phase out subsidies on fertilizers, the introduction of the input credit system has introduced a different dimension to the agricultural landscape. He elucidated that the previous subsidy system, which covered 50 percent of fertilizer costs, bore semblance to an input credit mechanism, as farmers were already contributing a portion of the expenses. He further elucidated that the gradual reduction of the subsidy reflects a shift toward self-sufficiency, ultimately necessitating a more comprehensive understanding of the evolving cost-sharing arrangement.
Storage and Distribution Infrastructure
Addressing the issue of storage and distribution infrastructure, Mr. Kareweh acknowledged that ongoing efforts have been directed towards enhancing these crucial elements of the agricultural supply chain. He emphasized the importance of completing existing projects to ensure efficient utilization. Additionally, he highlighted a prevailing ambiguity regarding the government’s intentions—whether to prioritize the construction of access roads to farming areas or to establish storage facilities within these communities.
Commodity Trading and Market Creation
Regarding commodity trading, Mr. Kareweh raised an important question: does the government intend to establish a market for agricultural products? This inquiry aligns with longstanding suggestions from GAWU to facilitate market creation. He alluded to previous instances where the government rejected this idea, citing the procurement of foodstuffs for the school feeding program as an alternative avenue. However, Mr. Kareweh pointed out a discrepancy between these intentions and the observed reliance on imported foodstuffs, which contradicts the government’s purported goals.
Digitized Platform and Resource Allocation
Mr. Kareweh expressed reservations about the prioritization of a digitized system for agriculture. He contended that the government’s emphasis on digitalization overlooks a more pressing concern—the lack of essential tools and resources required for effective agricultural production. While the digitized platform represents a forward-looking approach, Mr. Kareweh asserted that addressing immediate needs, such as providing farmers with necessary tools and inputs, remains an indispensable aspect of agricultural development.
GAWU calls for clarity on Phase Two of Food Initiative.
The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has issued a call to the government for greater clarity and elaboration on the impending phase two of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative. The multifaceted nature of this initiative, encompassing the input credit system, storage and distribution infrastructure, commodity trading, and digitized platforms, necessitates a more comprehensive understanding among stakeholders. Mr. Edward Kareweh, Secretary of GAWU, emphasized the importance of addressing prevailing uncertainties surrounding the subsidy reduction, storage priorities, market creation, and the sequencing of digitalization efforts. This clarion call seeks to ensure that the agricultural sector can effectively align its efforts with the government’s vision for sustainable and impactful development.