Peasant Farmers Ask Gov’t To Focus More On Flagship Programmes

President Nana Akufo Addo
President Nana Akufo Addo

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has appealed to Government not to reduce budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector but focus more on the implementation of agricultural programmes.

The Association noted that it had no problem with government’s intention to review the flagship programmes, insisting that, “the review should be on the mode of implementation and not on the budget allocation to the agricultural sector.

“More investment needs to be put into the agricultural sector at this critical moment. If government reduces the budget, it will affect the amount of support that goes to the small-holder farmers to be able to produce food.

“And when that happens, it will affect our food security in the ensuing year,” the Association’s leaders drawn from some Municipalities and Districts across the Upper East Region, said at a media engagement in Bolgatanga.

“We think that even if government is reviewing its programmes, the agricultural sector must not suffer. More capital should rather be pumped into the sector. We do not think that cutting down on the agricultural budget will be a proper thing to do in this crisis moment,” the leaders said.

Some of the leaders who individually expressed concern about their sector, bemoaned the high cost of agricultural inputs, especially government’s subsidized fertilizers, and called for reduction in prices to enable small-holder farmers to go into full production.

Madam Gilberta Akuka, the Chairperson for the PFAG in the Bawku West District, who lamented over the high cost of fertilizers, said, “prices are skyrocketing, last year, we bought the 25 kilograms (kg) of subsidized fertilizer for GH¢62.00. Now we are going to buy the same 25kg of subsidized fertilizer for GH¢160.00.

“We can foresee what will happen as we prepare for this year’s farming season. How many farmers will be able to afford these subsidized fertilizers for GH¢160.00?” she asked.

According to her, women farmers in the rural communities would be most affected as some of them would not be able to afford the fertilizers for production, “And once women are not able to buy the fertilizers to produce and support the men, production will be low.”

Mr Isaac Pabia, the Kassena-Nankana West District Chairman of the PFAG said, even though the country was faced with some economic challenges, it was critical for government to pay attention to the agricultural sector.

“The cost of production is high, in the open market, fertilizer has no fixed price. It keeps changing every day, and in this crisis period, we should be thinking of investing more in the agricultural sector,” Mr Pabia said.

He recalled in 2007, when there was a global economic crunch, the government at the time, led by former President Kufuor, realised that food security would be hit if nothing was done to remedy the situation, “so he quickly introduced the fertilizer subsidy, and that actually helped with regards to food security.”

He said apart from the cost of production, the dams in the northern part of the country had dried up which affected dry season farming, “With all these problems, what we expect as small-holder farmers is increased investment in the agricultural sector and not a reduction in the agricultural budget,” he added.

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