Some farmers in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region have expressed concerns over the current economic challenges, which have led to increased cost of food production, with many of them being thrown out of business.
They bemoaned the high cost of farm inputs and implements, coupled with challenges of climate change, adversely affecting farming activities and compelling many to reduce their farm sizes this year.
The farmers, therefore, called on the government to stabilise the economy and reduce the cost of farming activities to keep them in business and avert an imminent food insecurity.
Mr Robert Akiyalem from Nyangua, a suburb of the municipality, who was adjudged the Overall Municipal Best Farmer for 2022, said the cost of farm inputs and implements such as improved seeds, fertiliser, tractors, and threshers had risen beyond the limits of the ordinary farmer.
He told the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the 38th Farmers’ Day celebration at Nayagnia, a suburb of Navrongo, that coupled with poor rainfall patterns, the situation had resulted in loses incurred by the farmers and appealed to the government to subsidise those inputs to help them make ends meet.
“If the government can also provide simple machines for us, it will help us a lot. Also government should continue to introduce new farming technologies including new improved varieties to help increase yields,” he added.
Mr Teddy Addah, a farmer and Chief Executive Officer, Kolada Farms and Trading Company Limited, said apart from the high cost of production and inadequate markets, the country faced imminent food crisis if pragmatic measures were not taken to address the challenges.
“Last year, for instance, I produced 145.8 hectares of soybeans but this year I could only produce 21.7 hectares. I have not even harvested yet because there are no harvesting equipment and the few available are very expensive,” he said.
Mr Gerard Morgan, President, Nerawone Group, a farming group in the municipality, said the Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative was laudable, however, current challenges did not make farmers reap the maximum benefits.
Mr Joseph Adongo, Municipal Chief Executive, said agriculture remained the backbone of the economy and government’s commitment to supporting farmers and making the sector attractive to the youth was still on course.
He said 9,900 mini bags of NPK fertiliser and 32,000 bags of organic fertiliser distributed to 1,073 farmers under the PFJs programme while 80,000 kilograms of AGRA rice seeds were also sold to the farmers.
“I am happy to announce that the Assembly, in collaboration with the Savannah Investment Programme (SIP), supported 20 out-breeders in the municipality with 530 sheep with each beneficiary receiving averagely 25 sheep.”
“Also, under the SIP, 50 smallholder vulnerable female beneficiary farmers were supported with 120 layers and feed at a cost of GHC600.00 and were trained on layer management. “
“Out of the 50 beneficiaries, 25 received their packages whilst efforts are being made to distribute to the remaining 25,” he added.
Mr Zimi Alhassan, the Municipal Director, Department of Agriculture, appealed for more extension officers to support farmers increase production and contribute to food security.
The Day was on the theme: “Accelerating Agriculture Development through Value Addition,” which saw 13 farmers and groups awarded various prizes.