Tamale, May 18, GNA – Smallholder farmers in the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions have called on the government as a matter of urgency to lift the ban on employment imposed on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture especially the ban on recruitment of extension officers since it has impacted negatively on food production.
They said the current ratio of agricultural extension officer per farmer was in the range of one extension officer to 500 farmers, a situation they said cannot meet the food production needs of the country.
The farmers said trainees from the various agricultural colleges across the country had been left to fend for themselves instead of being absorbed into the MOFA for efficient farmer supervision.
This was contained in a communique in Tamale on Thursday and read by Mr Andrews Bukari, Chairman of Bawku Farmers Network, after a s workshop on the public financing of agricultural research organized by ActionAid Ghana in partnership with Urban Agricultural Network (UrbANet).
The workshop was attended by farmers from the Upper East, Upper West and the Northern Regions to sensitize the farmers to demand from duty bearers the need to adequately address problems facing the sector.
Mr. Bukari appealed to the government to be committed to the 2003 Maputo agreement of Africa Heads of State which Ghana was part of that they would commit 10% of their national annual budget to support agriculture and ensure annual growth rates in the sector by 6%.
He said even though the government had put in place various measures to address the decreasing rate in the sector, there was still much to be done stressing that government should increase its spending on agriculture.
Mr. Bukari said more resources should be targeted at the three northern regions especially to support increased productivity of stables through improved extension, research, irrigation and credit facilities for smallholders farmers especially women farmers.
Madam Queronica Quarley Quartey, Rights to Food and Climate Change Policy Advisor of ActionAid Ghana, said women in the country continue to suffer marginalization in most sectors particularly in the agricultural sectors where access to land was a problem.
She called for the need for the government to give equal chances to both males and females to ensure increasing production and yields.