The Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) says there is the urgent need to create conducive environments for the marketing of farm produces for the benefit of Ghanaian farmers and growth of the nation’s dominant sector.
To achieve this, the association believes that government will have to use its purchasing power to push capital to the agriculture value chain by sourcing locally-grown farm products.
“Government needs to make use of its purchasing power to make life better for smallholder producers. It’s illogical to have government funded initiatives like the School Feeding Programme relying on imported food products,” it said in a statement signed by its president Richmond Frimpong.
The group is also calling for the decentralized management of the agriculture sector with the right support systems and structures that will help to position Ghana as a food-sufficient nation with numerous jobs along its agricultural value chain.
According to GARDJA, the decision of government to move departments of agriculture from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to be under the direct supervision of the local assembly was a plausible step.
They however argued that this measure must be complemented with conscious efforts by government to channel adequate resources to provide quality extension services to farmers, support them with mechanization services as well as subsidized inputs.
“The local assemblies should prioritise agricultural activities and make sure they provide adequate investments at their levels to support farmers in their enclaves.
Money is needed to finance the transportation and logistical needs of extension officers so they can get research outputs and scientific and innovative techniques to the farmers. The local government system must support financially,” the further stated.
GARDJA predicts that fixing the challenges of the agriculture sector will require clearly thought through policy initiatives with enhanced commitment from various stakeholders to help develop the sector.
The statement added: “Minus immediate bold interventions, 2022 is likely to come along with even more drastic increase in prices of food stuff, deepening inequalities among the farming population and an increase in Ghana’s dependence on foreign foods, as well as loss of agricultural jobs. Immediate government action is needed now.”