Mr Bernard Guri, the Executive Director of Centre for Indigenous and Organisation Development (CIKOD), has reiterated the need for government to allow farmers work closely with scientists to come out with regulations to guide seed system in Ghana.
He said though Parliament had passed the Plant Variety Protection Bill, government could insist on giving local farmers the opportunity to work with scientist on locally produced seed.
He said the Green revolution type of farming approach that promoted only chemical fertilizer, use of pesticides and big machinery for big time farmers did not do any good to the environment.
Mr Guri, made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, after a regional campaign forum of farmers in the Northern Ecological Zone, held in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.
The forum, organised to sensitize the public on agroecology was supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWAS) and the 11th Hour Project and Joint Action for Farmers Organizations in West Africa (JAFOWA) and attended by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Centre for Indigenous and Organization Knowledge (CIKOD) and the Ghana National Sesame Business and Farmers Association.
The campaign was to drum home voices of farmers on the need to include agro-ecology in Ghana’s agricultural system.
Mr Guri said agroecology gave a better positive impact on the environment than the current type of green revolution agriculture being practiced.
Mr Guri, responding to how far the agenda of the farmers associations had gone, noted that there had been an increased recognition leading to increase in the quota of organic fertilizer given to farmers through official channels.
He said though approval for production of seeds was given by government, timing did not favor the farmers hence their inability to meet demands but still hoped that stakeholders were capable of producing viable local seeds.
In a statement to the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, the farmers appealed to government to increase investments in agroecology, to address climate change impact on small holder farmers in Northern Ghana.
“The current farming practices, coupled with mining activities and population growth has contributed to the destruction of our forest land scape, Northern Ghana is almost like a desert with all tree cover and the vegetation gone, the rainfall pattern is erratic, high temperatures and emergence of pests and diseases”.
The farmers therefore appealed for “increased budget allocation for continuation of stalled ‘one village, one dam projects, subsidy for simple mechanization services and water pumping machines for the youth to do dry season farming and rearing ”.
“There is need to reorient public expenditure priorities in order to focus more on important agricultural development such as rural infrastructure and training in agro ecology farming skills with emphasis on technologies that focus on recognizing, preserving and utilizing traditional and indigenous knowledge,” they said.