According to MOFA, it has recently embarked on a number of initiatives to facilitate access to finance by small-holder farmers to increase their productivity.

gardja7These include the provision of public irrigation facilities as a safeguard against climate change, the promotion of nucleus smallholder models and the development of drought tolerant seeds.

Other measures are the fertilizer subsidy program which reduces considerably production cost and access to credits at a low rate as well as the introduction of modern equipment for efficient mechanization.

“The initiatives above, increases the productivity rate of smallholders, reduce poverty through increased income, improves and strengthens supply chain for value addition….This is the way to go for agricultural development and improvement of the lives of our smallholder farmers, thus reducing rural poverty in its wake,” USAID Technical advisor at MOFA, Kwesi Korboe said.

He was speaking at the official launch of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) in Kumasi.

GARDJA is a professional body of agriculture and rural development journalists that has the objective of putting enhanced media spotlight on the above sectors.

The Association has the mission of helping sharpen the skills of journalists to enable them better report on agriculture and rural development.

It seeks to advance the profession of agricultural journalism through stimulation of thoughts, studies, research, discussion and dissemination of information.

The mission of the Association is to inform, educate and influence policy formulation and implementation to improve agricultural production.

Mr. Korboe said the initiative to establish an association of journalists with a special interest in agriculture and rural development is very laudable, and should be given the maximum support and encouragement.

The launch of the Association was under the theme “Improving Agricultural Financing for Smallholder Farmers in Ghana”.

2014 Ghana National Best Farmer George Asamoah Amankwaah who spoke at the event noted any policy tailored towards improving smallholder agriculture has the potential to greatly lift many households out of poverty and make the country food resilient.

He called for a clear-cut partnership between development journalists and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as well as other stakeholders to ensure that farmers are educated on changes in the industry to make them better off.

Dean of the Faculty of Agribusiness and Communication Sciences at the University of Development Studies Prof. Amin Alhassan called on stakeholder to do more to ensure the majority of profits in the agricultural value chain reach farmers.

President of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association Richmond Frimpong, also expressed concern that, there is limited support for farmers in Ghana as they have no guaranteed price for their farm produce. Mr. Frimpong called on government and other stakeholders to do more to help deal with these challenges.

Source : / Sammy Adjei

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