The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, together with other farmer-based organisations has launched a Farmers' Manifesto for the 2012 elections and beyond.
The manifesto seeks to lobby the various political parties contesting the December polls to pledge to increase investments in the agric sector and help small scale farmers increase their productivity when they win the elections.
The objective is to hold the government accountable to its promises to small scale farmers in the country.
Performing the launch, the president of the National House of Chiefs, Prof. Naa Nabila said the document had succinctly laid out all the issues confronting small scale farmers and proffered solutions to them.
He said the proposals were not so outrageous that the political parties could not implement them to bring relief to small scale farmers.
“Poverty and hunger and deprivation have bedeviled our communities for a very long time – a sad situation brought about by a systematic neglect of the primary source of livelihood and main economic activity of our people – agriculture.
“It is in light of this that we are extremely excited that this coalition is working to improve the livelihoods of our people which by extension will reduce the burden on us in our communities,” he said.
Prof. Nabila said, “About 80 per cent of our rural folk depends on small scale farming for their livelihoods. Ghana's desire to become a sufficiently food secure nation largely depends on these hard working but poor folks whose toil is helping to maintain the peace and security of the nation, after all food security and personal security are inextricably linked. The riots and their concomitant loss of lives and property in some parts of Africa in 2006 and 2007 are very fresh in the minds of all us.”
He, therefore, appealed to political parties, policy makers, planners and all stakeholders in development to see the farmers' manifesto as a complement of their efforts and consider the issues contained in the document in their development agenda.
The President of the PFAG, Mr Mohammed Adam Nashiru was disappointed that apart from the opposition New Patriotic Party, none of the other political parties invited to the launch of the manifesto turned up.
He said the disregard shown by the political parties was only a demonstration of the contempt the parties had for the agric sector.
He told Myjoyonline.com that peasant farmers will register their displeasure forcefully.
The programme was chaired by Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Director of Abantu for Development.
Prof. Ramatatu Alhassan of the Department of Agriculture and Economics of the University of Ghana, reviewed the manifesto.
Click here to see photographs of Farmers' Manifesto Launch.
Story by Ghana l Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com