Farmers say National Best Farmer Award scheme not helping
Mr Gilbert Atanga, a representative of the Upper East small scale farmers group, said in as much as farmers appreciated the National Best Farmer award system, the award scheme was not helping to develop agriculture.
Mr Atanga therefore appealed to the government to consider an award system that provided facilities such as farm machinery and inputs, dams, accessible roads among other things to districts and communities that are judged to have performed creditably in agriculture.
Mr Atanga said this at a farmers’ week celebration that was held on Thursday at Wa.
Organised by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC), the event was on the theme: “Smallholder Farmers: Reserving the Right to be more Productive”.
The farmer’ week celebration was instituted by the GTLC in 2006 with the aim of bringing smallholder farmers together to articulate their concerns and make proposals to enhance the government’s National Farmers’ Day celebration.
It brought together over 1,000 farmers from all the 10 regions of Ghana.
Mr Atanga said the National Best Farmer Awards benefited only individuals to the detriment of the small scale farmer whose contributions to the development of agriculture in the country could not be downgraded.
Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, the GTLC National Coordinator, said listening to the concerns of the small scale farmers, one would wonder what the country had been celebrating every year as National Farmers’ Day.
He therefore called on institutions to target the small scale farmers to build their capacities to increase productivity.
Mr Akalbila appealed to the government to set aside a special budgetary allocation to support small scale farmers.
He reiterated the need for smallholder farmers to form groups, stressing that it would enable them to become stronger and more united to be able to have influence on government policies.
Mr. Abdul-Latif Khalid, a representative of the Upper West Farmers, mentioned the lack credit facilities for smallholder farmers, lack of irrigation facilities, lack of access to profitable markets and poor dialogue between farmers and stakeholders as some of the challenges facing farmers.