De-risk Agriculture to increase Food stock – Farmer tells government

Minister For Agric
Minister For Agric

Mr Sumaila Doho, a 48-year-old commercial farmer in the Sissala East Municipality has appealed to banks to de-risk agriculture to promote commercial farming for food security.

Speaking to the GNA in an interview, Mr Doho said farming was lucrative, which the youth must venture into to make a decent living and not to wait for nonexistent white-collar jobs.

He said, “I want to farm to produce enough food for the country and for export. Food prices are getting too high because we don’t produce enough as a country, hence my decision to go into farming”.

Mr Doho who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during a visit to his 625 acres of maize and a hundred soya field located in the Duu East about three hours’ drive from Tumu said: “Just see how this year, how every country is panicky over food and that’s the reason I think we support ourselves to produce enough food.

“Smallholder farming interventions cannot take Ghana out of its food security challenges but it will take commercial farming supported with bank equity to produce to meet the country’s food stock and export to earn foreign exchange as the surest way to reduce the over dependence on the dollar that continues to challenge to the economy”.

Mr Doho said the size of his farm would be for three or four communities saying, “If one person can farm this big, then it means with the right support, we can have a lesser number of people who can feed the country and develop others to produce to export, so in effect, fewer regions could take care of the country`s food needs”.

On challenges confronting him, Mr Doho stressed the need for banks to lower their interest rates and keep staff who understand farming to deal with farmers’ needs. “I have banked with over two banks and none of them is ready to give me any facility, what they tell me is that farming is risky and therefore getting equity is a problem and this is not good for agribusiness”.

He said the absence of machinery was another challenge as the need for combine harvesters, threshers, tractors, and boom sprayers were all capital-intensive for a farmer to acquire.

“If I have a combine harvester, a hectare of a planting distance of 48,655 plants will give you four to five metric tonnes per hectare could easily be harvested in real-time and reduce too many hands and also encourage large fields’ cultivation and quick harvest”.

He also expressed concern about the poor roads leading to food producing centres saying, “Most roads to farming centres have remained deplorable with weak bridges and in most cases non-existing culverts over streams that hinder the transport of machinery, inputs and foodstuff to homes and market centres”.

Mr Doho stressed the need for the government to create a portfolio for agriculture, where a dedicated fund must be earmarked for agricultural production for the youth to be encouraged to the sector and said he was expecting to harvest about 1,250 metric tonnes of maize and reiterated the need for a fund for commercial farmers to partner smallholder farmers to make Ghana’s food secure.

Mr Doho Sumaila, who is also the Presiding Member of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly, called on the government to encourage communities to allocate lands for agricultural purposes across the country.

Mr Doho’s company `Farmer Pride` has plans to expand the farm size, construct a dam, rear animals and procure a combine harvester and other machinery to mechanize agriculture to feed the country, export and provide job avenues for the youth.

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