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02.10.2005 Regional News

Farmers urge govt to make agric attractive to youth

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Gomoa Okyereko (C/R), Oct. 2, GNA - Farmers in the Gomoa and Awutu-Effutu-Senya districts of the Central Region, have appealed to the government to make agriculture very attractive to the youth in order to increase productivity.

They said agriculture is the bed-rock of every country's development but the present situation of high cost of inputs, such as fertilizers and other chemicals needed for farming and lack of credit facilities had scared the youth from getting into it, thereby taking over from the aging farmers.

The farmers made the appeal at a rally attended by a cross-section of farmers from the two districts at Gomoa Okyereko, near Winneba on Saturday.

It was organised by a coalition of NGOs including Oxfam, ISODEC, Send Foundation, Action Aid Ghana, Marketing Access Promotion Network, Peasant Farmers Association, GAWU and Abibiman Foundation. The theme for the rally, which was aimed at collating grassroots experiences of the impact of world trade agreements, and national trade policies on farmers and small-scale producers throughout the country, was "Making Poverty History Through Fair Trade".

Nana Ntsiful Ababio XI, Chief of Okyereko and chairman of the Okyereko Rice Farmers Association, who chaired the function said the flooding of Ghanaian markets by foreign foods, especially rice was affecting their occupation.

He said due to high cost of agricultural inputs and labour, most farmers ran at a lost after harvesting and appealed to the government to review its agricultural policies to accelerate the growth of the economy.

Nana Obuabeng Tawiah III, Chief of Gomoa Assin Mampong and Apakamhene of Gomoa Assin Traditional Area, urged the government to give credit facilities and loans to the youth, who are ready to go into farming to stop them from going to the cities in search for non-existent jobs.

Mrs. Faustina Andor, a rice farmer at Okyereko appealed to the government to help rice farmers in the town with a combine-harvester to ensure easy harvesting of their farms. Earlier, Mr Mohammed Adam Nashiru, President of the Farmers Association of Ghana, had briefed the farmers on the need to sort the views of farmers on problems affecting productivity and present them to the government for consideration at the World Trade Organisation conference in Hung Kong later this year. Similar rallies had been held at Nyariga in the Upper East and Tuobodom in the Brong Ahafo regions.