Smallholder farmers across the country have hailed the move by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to delivering 1,000 mini Planters and Solar Powered Rice Mills for smallholder farmers across the country.
The farmers said lack of Planters and other equipment’s has stalled efforts at expanding farming activities to be able to meet high demand from the local and international market.
“Efforts to secure funding from local sources to scale up our activities within the agriculture value chain were fraught with several bottlenecks, eventually proving futile” they said.
A farmer in the Ketu North District of the Volta Region and Managing Director of Maphlix Trust Farms Limited, Mr. Felix Mawuli Kamassah said small-scale farmers are unable to purchase mini Planters or Rice Mills and so this is a welcoming news to them but was quick to ask the following questions; What modalities will be used to distribute the Planters?, Will the Planters be given on credit based?, Why is MOFA not involving farmers Associations leaders?; I want answers he told this reporter in an interview on Ghana’s agricultural sector, challenges smallholder farmers are facing and how policymakers are responding.
The agribusiness entrepreneur who also doubles as the President of the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) indicated that opportunities like these mostly do not benefit the smallholder farmers and he doesn’t kwon why he quizzed.
“This Planters and Rice Mills will be given to some persons who are not into farming; they keep them and later sell it to us at a high price. I am speaking out of experience; that is the practice in this country” he pointed out.
The President of the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) urged the minister to keep an eye on the distribution of these equipment’s.
A Rice farmer in the Northern Region said that agriculture has a central role to play in promoting growth and poverty reduction in the Ghanaian economy at this stage of our development and Ghana needs an agricultural revolution and it must be now.
According to Mr. Alhassan due to production constraints, such as land tenure problems, absence of water control system and low profitability, farming is becoming unattractive ; we feel it’s time wasting especially we the smallholder farmers.
“Rice is by every account an important crop in the Ghanaian staple diet and its availability throughout the year is of great importance” Alhassan said.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto during his 6-day tour of the Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, and Bono East regions to interact with farmers revealed that his ministry have taken delivery of 1,000 mini planters and shellers from Czech Republic and hoping to give to farmers very soon.
The Minister said that modalities are being drawn considering that it’s a facility that has to be repaid and it’s important they strategize.
“Solar Powered Rice Mills are being experimented in four places, if successful, government intends to import more to support farmers; meanwhile, a deal with Indian, Brazil and Chinese governments will see lots of them coming in by the close of the year” he added.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto pointed out that his 6-day tour of the Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, and Bono East regions to interact with farmers also revealed to him that Ghanaians are really interested in farming and activities within the Agriculture Value Chain.
“Bankers and Lecturers have invested heavily in Rice and Poultry farming across the country; because the sector looks lucrative, they are sponsoring out growers across communities and for me this is good news for us as a country” he said.