Access to extension services and guaranteed markets remains a problem for farmers – Study

By Patience Gbeze /Abena Sika Otchere, GNA 

Accra, Aug. 20, GNA – A study  conducted by the Africa RISING Project, Ghana
has revealed that access to extension services, guaranteed markets for produce
and poor road networks continue to be major problems confronting farmers in the
country.

The study, “Assessing institutions enabling
or constraining access to output and input markets by farm house-holds and
delivery pathways for sustainable intensification technologies”, was conducted
in the three northern regions of the country.

It called for improved policies and
institutional arrangements to increase participation of farm families,
especially women and youth in the output and input markets and decision-making;
and advocated for implementation by national government, policy makers and
development partners.

The Science and Technology Policy Research
Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI)
is a collaborating agency for the Africa RISING Project and since 2017 it has
been analyzing policies that impact on small-holders farmers.

The Africa RISING project, being implemented
in West Africa and East Africa with several collaborators (farmers,
researchers, policy institutions, among others), is aimed at generating and
disseminating technologies for the adoption of small holder farmers for
improved livelihoods.

Dr Adams Abdulai, Research Scientist and the
Team Leader, speaking at a validation workshop in Accra, said in Ghana, the
project targets small holder farmers in northern Ghana engaged in crop (maize
and cowpea and livestock (small ruminants) production and technologies
generated in those areas were disseminated to farmers through the concept of
“Technology Parks”.

He said the project was linked to the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2 and 15 relating to anger, job creation
and employment.

He said the validation workshop was to
gather more inputs into the study report and share widely the findings and
recommendations of the report for greater policy and institutional support at
various levels to improve the living conditions of farming households.

The aim of African rising program is to
create opportunities for small holder households to come out of hunger and
poverty using Sustainable Intensification (SI) as a tool.

Dr Abdulai said currently the project
operates in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa.  In West Africa it covers Ghana and Mali.

He said various factors influence the choice
of farmers in using different market channels and called for action based on
the significant variables revealed for the market channels, effective extension
service delivery coupled with the provision of business advisory service.

Dr Adams said other areas that needed
attention are the financial support to small holder farmers to facilitate the
adoption of Sustainable Intensification practices and marketing and enforcing
grades and standards in markets to increase the economic welfare of farmers
through fair practice in trading.

Dr Mavis Dayie, a Research Scientist,
presenting research findings on “Delivery Pathways of Sustainable Intensification
Technologies, Practice and the Role of Government Extension Service”, said the
learning mechanism and delivery pathways employed in the dissemination of SI
technologies are very effective leading to higher adoption rates.

She said the benefits outlined are numerous,
however, higher yields and unity in decision making are the key benefits noted
from the adoption of those practices.

 Dr
Wilhemina Quaye, the Director, CSIR-STEPRI, said the Council embarks on policy
research to generate research findings for stakeholders to facilitate national
development and has the expertise on various fields to achieve that goal.

She called on the public to liaise with the
Council for their project proposals and report writing.

GNA

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