Upper East farmers unhappy with pro-poor agricultural policies

Farmers in the Upper East Region have expressed concern about the way and manner some of government’s pro-poor policies on agriculture are being implemented.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Ghana Trade Aid and Livelihoods Coalition (GTLC) with support from the Business Support and Advocacy Centre (BUSAC) at Navrongo in the Kassena Nankana East, on Friday, they complained that government’s subsidy on fertilisers was being abused, making it difficult for a number of them to benefit from the package.

They claimed that some people are doing underhand dealings with the commodity such as hoarding the fertiliser to sell later at exorbitant prices while some are being smuggled to the neighbouring countries.

Mr Gilbert Atanga, Leader of the Yorogo-Kunkua Co-operative Farmers Association, alleged that the Livestock Support Project initiated by government is being manhandled by some public officials especially in the procurement of ruminants for the beneficiaries.

“Apart from that, the animals that were procured by Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) staff from Burkina Faso died of diseases such as anthrax and it would be difficult for the farmers to pay back the recovery cost,” he said.

Mr Thomas Ayamga, Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, of MOFA assured the farmers that their grievances would be addressed.

He took the farmers through the government’s Agriculture pro-poor policies including Youth and Agriculture Block Farming, National Food Buffer Programme, Northern Rural Growth Programme, Rice Sector Support Programme, and International Fund for Agriculture Development.

Mr Ayamga entreated them to avail themselves for the polices by constituting themselves into vibrant farmers’ associations to enhance productivity to improve upon their livelihood.

“You as farmers could also…take advantage of the sale of fertiliser to avoid being cheated,” he said.

He advised them to buy food items and stock them at the National Buffer Food Stock, to await the dry season.

Mr Richard Ananga, Regional Focal Person of GTLC and BUSAC Service Provider explained that his outfit with support from BUSAC is creating platforms for farmers to engage with duty bearers in addressing their concerns.

Source: GNA

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