Ghana's vision of attaining a middle income status by 2015 will be a mirage if its farmers and fishermen continue to struggle with manual farm inputs.
President of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners of Ghana (NFFAWAG), Phillip Abayori, told this paper that Ghanaian farmers continue to struggle with hoes, inadequate irrigation facilities, slow agric credit delivery and lack government support to build their capacity to enable them stand the current global challenges.
He called on the government to improve the lot of farmers by assisting them with mechanized farm inputs. Mr Abayori said the era of crude method of farming had passed and that there was the need for government to partner farmers to follow the new trends of mechanized farming.
He said with mechanization, many farmers would embark on large-scale farming, which would not only feed them and their families, but also the country and beyond.
Mr Abayori stated that Ghana needed to learn from the recent food crisis and encourage farmers and fishermen to maintain national food security and make the agric sector a real profitable business.
“We have come to the realization that it is our politicians who should rather have good intention to develop Ghana's agriculture because the technocrats and the authorities that have been mandated to advise and implement laudable agricultural policies and programmes for the agric sector lack the capacity to do so,” the NFFAWAG President said.
The technocrats and the authorities, he noted, had rather gone to sleep and left the entire agriculture sector crumbling.
“They ignore the farmers and fishermen and sometimes make government efforts look worthless in the face of its citizens,” he lamented.
Mr Abayori commended President John Agyekum Kufuor for offering Ghanaian farmers subsidies on fertilizers, adding that “the move has really improved agricultural productivity in the country.
“No government has placed so much emphasis on its agricultural sector to attract the needed investment into the country than the NPP Government. The evidence is the Millennium Challenge Account and other interventions such as the youth in agriculture programme and the school feeding programme,” the NFFAWAG President remarked.
Mr Abayori was happy that though NFFAWAG faced many challenges such as lack of support and other circumstances such as drought and high cost of agro input, his outfit was able to embark on 10,000 acres of tomatoes project throughout the country to feed tomato processing facilities in Ghana.
He said 88,000 tomato farmers had been registered throughout the country and were participating in the project, noting that Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Region had cultivated 5000 acres.
By Felix Dela Klutse