Gov't urged to help build the capacities of Peasant Farmers
5/17/2012 1:33:09 PM -
Techiman (B/A), May 17, GNA - Mr. Mohammed Adam Nashiru, National President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called for the commitment of politicians to agricultural transformation to improve the livelihood of peasant farmers.
He said research had shown that there were communities in the northern part of the country suffering from abject poverty, hunger and malnutrition 'just because they are small-scale farmers without governmental support'.
Mr. Nashiru was addressing a zonal consultative meeting on farmers manifesto read on his behalf by Mr. Charles Nyaabaa, programmes officer of the Association in Techiman.
The meeting, jointly organised by the PFAG and OXFAM GB - Ghana, an NGO, was attended by 60 small-scale farmers in the municipality.
It was aimed at brainstorming over the manifestoes of the various political parties, particularly as applicable to small-scale farmers.
Mr. Nashiru noted that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report of 2008 indicated that about 963 million people, representing nearly 15 per cent of the world's population, were not well fed.
He indicated that the numerous international expert predictions of hunger and food crisis in view of climate change, population increase and shrinking access to farm land, as well as conflicts in most sub-Sahara Africa, were enough to suggest to political leadership in Ghana to adopt policies that would bring about a sharp transformation in the agricultural sector .
Mr. Nashiru noted that small-scale or peasant farmers were the poorest in the country due to challenges that hampered their progress.
Insecure and fragmented land holding, high cost of inputs, declining soil fertility, low access to financial services, high interest rates, market liberalization and removal of subsidies, are some challenges that confront peasant farmers in the country, he said.
The PFAG President appealed to supporters of political parties, and Ghanaians in general to exercise restraint before, during and after the December 7 elections.
Mr. Samuel Boadum, Techiman Municipal Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), appealed to the government to ensure graduates of Agricultural Institutes were employed in the Agricultural Extension Division of the Ministry to boost staff strength.
Madam Victoria Adongo, Programmes Coordinator of PFAG in a presentation, said about 1,300 farmers were being managed by one extension officer, which she said was not the best in the farming industry.
She noted that peasant farmers and co-operative bodies were very important in agricultural transformation and must be supported to increase production, enhance profitability and gain access to inputs, fertilizer and modern equipment.
The programmes co-ordinator stressed the need for the creation of opportunities for private investments in the agricultural commodity value chain.
Nana Kwao Adams, executive director of Abrono Farming Project (ABOFAP) noted the high dependence on expensive inputs and conventional farming methods adopted by small scale farmers, which he said hampered their development.
Mr. Charles Ampofo, Project Officer of ABOFAP stated that small-scale farmers constituted about 70 per cent of the country's population and called on the government to help build their capacities.