Government asked to do more to develop agriculture
Alhaji Abdul Salaam Akate, the 2007 National Best Farmer, has asked the government to provide requisite substantial inputs to farmers to facilitate national economic growth.
He said farmers hold the key to the nation’s development and with the appropriate and congenial working atmosphere they would give of their best to enhance a sustainable long-term food security and a sound source of livelihoods.
Alhaji Akate, who is also the Managing Director of Akate Farms and Trading Company, was speaking to the Ghana News Agency, in an interview in Kumasi, on the performance of the Government in the agricultural sector.
He praised the government for the fertilizer subsidy and distribution, the increase in the producer price of cocoa and other efforts towards assisting farmers to provide sustainable healthy and affordable food for the people.
Alhaji Akate, however, noted that despite the government’s efforts, large chunks of food produce are still lost through harvesting and post harvest handling.
He urged the government to ensure that adequate food processing machines and storage facilities are provided to farmers to end this problem.
On irrigation, he said, water is very important in farming, therefore, there is the need for the government to support farmers to get irrigational facilities, such as, boreholes and artificial lakes so that they do not rely on rains for their activities.
The national best farmer, who urged the government to provide adequate budgetary support for agriculture to sustain the nation’s development, said it was time the government supported farmers to mechanize farming.
“Working with hoes, cutlasses, digging tools, hand saws, shears, baskets and the like, should give way to clearing, planting or sowing machines, weeding, harvest, post-harvesting and processing machines to make farming easy and attractive.”
Alhaji Akate expressed support for the government’s efforts to ban the importation of certain food items, such as rice and turkey tail and said this is a good attempt which needs the support of every Ghanaian to not only protect local farmers and price fluctuation but also promote export trade.
He said as a national best farmer, he had been assisting some individual farmers and educational institutions to boost their agricultural plans and programmes.
He said, though most farmers are not politically inclined, there is the need for them to form a coalition so that they speak with one accord and also assist government on issues and policies that affect them.