Friends of the media ,ladies and gentlemen , Let me take this opportunity as the Executive Director of the Manful-Piinu Farmers Association to welcome you to this press release and also give you an introduction/overview of this Association.
Manful-Piinu Farmers Association was formed and registered in the year 2007. The Association has its head office in Bunkpurugu in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District of the Northern region. Manful-Piinu Farmer Association has sub-groups throughout the district, including 26 different smaller groups spread in eleven communities. We are numbering nearly 700 registered members and out of this figure a little over one-quarter of them (27.8%) are women. This contributes to livelihood improvement and employment options leading to increase productivity of grains ad cereals in the district.
Ladies and Gentlemen press, our Association is dominated by people with no education as 70% have no formal education, this falls amongst other reasons why concerted efforts are made to make farming a lucrative business in this area.
In our seven (7) years of existence in the district and beyond, we have been engaged into several agricultural activities amongst others.
Members of the Press, working directly with farmers, Traders, Business men and women in this part of the country, we have had various experiences with regards to farming/economic activities and for that matter trading and business in general
Permit me to note that, as the only vibrant Farmers Association in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District. We have been looking at the role to play in helping to reduce poverty and hardship amongst us and other farmers in the district.
We have held several training workshops and recently stakeholders meetings with Chiefs, opinion leaders, unit committees, Assembly persons, and government officials in bringing to their notice a worrying issue which the Farmer has been unknowingly cheated.
Member of the press, ladies and gentlemen these unfortunate developments need to be looked at urgently. As a farmer based association, we have conducted researches, interviews across the district both in the markets and at homes and found out that, Farmers over the years have never enjoyed the benefits of their toils in Ghana, especially in this part of the region.
The farmer and for that matter the producer goes through hardship during and after harvest to bring food in the market and at home but yet do not benefit anything in the end apart from house consumption. Our research reveals clearly that, the farmer has been cheated continuously.
This is partly due to unequal measurement or the use of bowls and bags of difference sizes to scoop out farmers' hard work and toil. Ladies and friends of the press, Apart from using substandard (big sizes of bowls and sacks), market men and women also use the full length of their arms to support the size of the bowl when measuring the grains, this subsequently leads to the seller or the farmer being cheated, because grains/cereals that are supposed to be measured, say five bowls will end up measuring three or two and half bowls.
Friends of the Media, this outcome have over the years been a big concern to us as an Association which deals with farmers and the society to sought funds from BUSAC Ghana to support us Sensitized, Educate, Inform and remind the government of Ghana through you the press/media who are our mouth piece to disseminate these very important and crucial issues across the Nation.
It is our hope and target that, the insights of this press release will be used by policymakers to help our farmers who are highly dissatisfied about the use of some bowls and bags to measure grains for sale. This system according to our findings robs the farmer of his hard earned toil.
The negative effects of selling grains in unscale bowls and bags are not only the fact that farmers are deprived of the full benefit, but also have the tendency of destroying farming as a business venture.
Members of the press, the effects of this system also cascade down to the District Assembly revenue collection because the Assembly is dependent greatly on taxes of farm produces.
We therefore call on the Government of Ghana, The parliament house of Ghana, the Ministry Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agric, Ghana Standard Board, the Security agencies, cooperate Institutions and the civil societies to support Manful Piinu Farmers Association to help have the issues address.
The press is one of the medium we can communicate with to enable this call get to the appropriate bodies and will help have the issues well addressed.
However, we also believe that, through collaborations with the local authorities and the District Assembly the problems can be stamped out in the system by using the scale weighing system to eradicate this primitive marketing method.
Ladies and gentlemen, by introducing the scale weighing system in all the localities and market centres to ensure that all farm produces meant for sale are measured by the scales, would help the seller or the farmer from being cheated. We want to aslo suggest that, It should be mandatory for all farm produce to be sold by their weight and not by measurement in unscale bowls and sacks , this amongst other measures can help if not reduced but put to a stop this primitive way of trading especailly in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District.
Members of the press , we belive that , there are existing laws /acticles in the constitution of Ghana in relating to scaling and standardisation, therefore we appeal to his Execellency the President of Ghana to call on the institutions who are mandated to implement these by-laws to be effectvely operational especially in the remote district like ours.
Concluding on this press release ,ladies and gentlemen ,our observations are that, Advocacy must be intensified for the setting up of designated Grain and Cereals markets where standard weighing and scales would be used to determine the quantity and prices for farm produce, this would enable farmers in this part of the region be linked to the National Food Buffer Stock Company to mob up produce of farmers in the district by coming into the district to do business directly with them.
Factors that lead to increase in production costs and affect farmers participating in the grain market is because farmers do not benefit from a fair system measurement of their hard earned produce (grains) since there is no policy or by-laws that guarantee standardized grain measurement to enable them realize the full benefit of their toil. Instead they suffer from gross and arbitrarily unequal measurements from market men and women who use unscale bowls and bags of different sizes to scoop out our grains when measuring for sale.
Ladies and Men from the media, members of our association and indeed many other peasant farmers in the district have very limited alternative to legal means for enforcing fair measurement. Thus, the market women and grain buyers take advantage of the situation to rob us of our income.
We do not have access to a public market information system that enables us to know prices and standard measurements. This limits our ability to determine standardize measurement for our grains. The above mention results in high lost and high production cost to us as farmers and we therefore call for the enforcement that ensures fairness.
Men and women of the press, the sensitive part of these issues to us as an Association is the Unequal/unscale measurements of farmer's grains and cereals. This have untold consequences on the farmers; apart from leading to high cost of production and lost in quantity sold. It also demoralizes the farmer and makes farming business unattractive and less lucrative. The ramifying effects of this have serious implications on food security, food production, living standards of the farmers and the revenue of the assembly.
Finally members of the media ,our aim and objective is to address several questions in order to inform policy aimed at facilitating market exchange and promoting market development.
When this is done, farming as a business will be lucrative and attractive to investors. It will also have a multiplier effect of increasing productivity, reducing food insecurity, raising the standards of living of the farmers and consequently propelling development.
We sincerely thank you for making time to attend our invitation; it's our hope that, this press briefing would serve a purpose to us.
Mr. Henry Konlan
Manful-Piinu Farmers Association