Most farmers cannot access government’s agricultural interventions – Study

A policy monitoring and evaluation study by the Ghana Trades and Livelihood Coalition, a trade and agriculture policy advocacy and research non-governmental organization, has shown that majority of farmers do not have access to various government’s interventions and services to boost their agricultural production.

Dubbed:  the Agro-Policy Performance Barometer , the evaluation of data from 282 farmers in Nyariga  in the Upper East Region, Derma in the Brong Ahafo region and Kasseh in the Greater Accra on access to various services showed that just a few of them were benefiting from these policy interventions.

The data collected from the three production centres covered access to tractor services, extension service, access to credit, certified seeds and storage facilities.

Announcing the findings at a durbar in Nyariga at the weekend,  Mr Ibrahim Akallbila, Coordinator of GTLC, said the findings of the barometer indicated that much more work needed to be done to reduce hunger and poverty.

“In marking the Agro-Policy Performance Barometer today the GTLC’s contributing to the sustainable socio-economic and environmental growth by using data generated directly by small-scale farmers to assess the effects of policy implementation in Ghana,” he said.

Mr Akalbila said the study also revealed that women were much more vulnerable in access to these services than men, adding, this called for more focused and targeted interventions for women.

“Generally, the report shows difficulty in accessing these services across all levels but the impact is more on the women,” he said.

On access to and cost of tractor services in Nyariga, 68 per cent of the 98 respondents said it was difficult while 81 per cent said it was expensive. But for women, almost 86 per cent lack access to tractor services.

Similarly, 98.89 per cent of the respondents in Kasseh said they had difficulty in accessing tractor services and 86.81 per cent said it was expensive.

While 78 and 46 per cent of the respondents in Nyariga and Kasseh respectively, indicated that they had no access to extension services, a greater percentage of them did say it was not timely.

An overwhelming 93 per cent of the respondents said it was difficult to access credit while 98 percent of the farmers said storage facilities were non-existent.

Mr Akalbila said while the results in Derma were similar to the two production centres of Nyariga and  Kasseh, the difference was that Derma had a high proportion of 70 per cent of farmers having access to extension services.

Besides, 100 per cent of the respondents said there were no storage facilities available.

Mr Akalbila said the poor access to credit was a reflection of the progressive reduction of sectoral allocation of credit to the agriculture sector by deposit money banks.

Credit to the agriculture sector has been on decline from 12.4 percent in 1999 to 4.5 percent in 2009.

Mr Akalbila said through the barometer initiative, it would be easy to assess on yearly basis the trend in farmers’ support and development.

A cross-section of farmers underscored the challenges of lack of equipment such as tractors and combined harvesters, threshing platforms and rehabilitation of existing irrigation projects.

Source: GNA

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