The President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Mohammed Adam Nashiru, has expressed disappointment at the politicization of the problems bedeviling the agricultural sector.
He said the problems of agric have such dire consequences for the security of the nation that discussing them ought to be devoid of partisan considerations and plain misinformation.
Mr. Nashiru was commenting on the recent debate on the sector occasioned by a press statement by the Minority in Parliament in which they accuse the government of crippling the agriculture sector.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop jointly organized by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and SEND-GHANA in Tamale, the PFAG President said while the problems of the sector were not new and could not be blamed solely on the current government, the claims by Deputy Food and Agric Minister, Dr. Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu that Ghana’s present food security is unprecedented were not supported by the facts on the ground.
The purpose of the workshop was to discuss solutions to the poor Agriculture Extension Services to farmers. As part of the discussions; the stakeholders in the workshop expressed worry over the politicization of the issues of agriculture.
Mr. Nashiru said the deputy minister’s statement could not have been true in the face of problems such as poor extension services to farmers, delay in the release of Fertilizer Subsidy, inadequate financial services to Small Holder Farmers, lack of access to market and poor transportation network in farming communities.
He said that the delay in this year’s rains in the Northern Sector might affect food supply in the region which could have been avoided if economic planners and policy makers had put in measures for water conservation in the period of floods for dry season farming.
On Extension Services which was the topic for the Tamale workshop, Mr. Nashiru called on government to lift the ban on the recruitment of Agricultural Extension Agents as a way of addressing the low Extension Agent-to-farmer-ratio in the country.
In a presentation, Mr Daniel Adotey, a Programme Officer at SEND-GHANA indicated that inadequate human resources, poor logistical support for both management and field level staff and operational deficiencies in providing public extension services is a threat to the full achievement of the objectives of the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Programme (FASDEP) and the Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (METASIP) to increase agricultural productivity.
He called on government to redirect investment into agricultural extension services.
The Chairman for the occasion, Mr Zakaria Sumani Iddrisu, who is also the President of the Regional Seed Producers Association in his closing remarks called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support the establishment of nuclear farmers (seed growers) in every farming community to improve smallholder farmers’ access to improved seed varieties.
Stakeholders in the workshop included farmers from Upper West, Upper East, Northern Region, and representatives from MOFA, SADA, and NGOs in the Region.
The programme was sponsored by TRUST AFRICA.