The Catholic Bishop of Wa, Most Reverend Paul Bemile, has urged public authorities to improve services for small scale farmers to enable them increase food production and
He said the provision of transport services, marketing facilities, good drinking water and quality education to adapt to new technologies and innovation, were necessary motivations that could help them to increase food production.
Speaking at the launch of the Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programme (TUDRIDEP), a Catholic Non Governmental Organisation operating in the region, Most Rev. Bemile said in addition, there should be realistic credit support at the rural level to farmers.
He said such financial assistance should be managed by credit unions and rural banks with minimal political interference.
Most Rev. Bemile said increase in food production and in income levels of the poor farmer would be a mirage if these support services were lacking.
He called for the formulation of appropriate economic policies to support the small scale farmer in the areas of credit, pricing, improved equipment and inputs.
Most Rev. Bemile said financial institutions should also be willing to provide capital to small scale farmers at reasonable rates of interest.
The Bishop said since agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, it was proper that prices of products were kept at fairly reasonable levels.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In our present circumstances, we can say that the prices of rural products are just a recompense for the farmerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s labour without making room for needed capital investmentÃ¢â‚¬Â, he said.
Bishop Bemile called for the establishment of industries in rural areas to help preserve and process agricultural products as well as to support small scale farmers with irrigation services.
He called on small scale farmers to come together to form strong farmer based organisations to enable them to advocate and advance their interests.
Bishop Bemile said when they formed a formidable association, they would be able to function effectively and efficiently.
TUDRIDEP is dedicated to improving the living conditions of people through the provision of services and the building of the capacities of small scale farmers to make them self-sufficient.