The Atebubu-Amantin municipal Research-Extension-Farmer-Linkage Committee (RELC) has met to deliberate on issues affecting farmers in the municipality.
According to the acting municipal director of the Department of Agriculture Mr. Stephen Aidoo, the main objective of the RELC is to identify problems facing farmers by engaging them, and to collectively seek solutions to these challenges.
He said the RELC engagements which is at two levels involve zonal sessions leading to the district planning meeting where identified constraints are validated and grouped under roots and tubers, cereals and legumes, vegetables, tree crops, livestock as well as other cross-cutting issues.
At the meeting, issues identified were ranked in order of importance, and categorized into extension, research and policy where constraints that have immediate solution are addressed by the extension staff together with various stakeholders whiles those beyond them are reported to the appropriate institutions for redress.
Some cross-cutting issues identified were: shortage of fertilizers at the peak period of the minor season, destruction of crops by cattle, high cost of agro inputs, lack of a strong municipal farmers association, non-standardization of farm produce, difficulty in accessing tractor services ,high cost of labor for farm activities, poor road network, and erratic rainfall patterns.
An action plan based on constraints to be addressed through extension will be prepared to enable stakeholders deal with relevant challenges to ensure the growth of agriculture in the municipality.
Messrs. Paul Duah Boateng the Bono East regional officer for livestock, Bernard Marfo the regional extension officer and Adomako Lawrence the municipal extension officer provided insights to some of the problems identified.
Stakeholders were drawn from both livestock and crop farmers, staff of the Department of Agriculture, agro input dealers, aggregators, tractor service providers, the municipal assembly and the media.