TUDRIDEP advocates good market price for farmers to increase production
The emphasis on general extension interventions for increased agricultural production without consideration to the market price of farm produce has not benefitted farmers over the years.
Mr. James Duma, Coordinator of the Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programme, (TUDRIDEP) who said noted that a market with a very good price was the biggest incentive for farmers to increase production.
He, therefore, advised policy makers to focus on getting good market prices for farmers to sell their produce.
Mr. Duma was speaking at the inauguration of office accommodation for the Sissala East Cooperative Farmers and Marketing Union at Tumu in the Sissala East District in the Upper West Region. He inaugurated a similar facility at Gwollu for the Sissala West Union in the Sissala West District.
The unions are being supported by TUDRIDEP and the Association of Church Development Programme (ACDEP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) with sponsorship from the Inter Church Netherlands Development Corporation (ICCO) and the European Union.
According to Mr Duma, the idea of service provision and charity which was characteristic of certain religious bodies, had not also paid off, saying that it rather made beneficiaries very dependent, less innovative, less creative and unable to take their destiny into their own hands.
Mr. Duma said the purpose for forming the Unions was, therefore, to build farmer’s capacity in modern agricultural practices in a coordinated manner and support them to stand on their own in the future with a common voice.
Mr. Karimu Sulemani, Sissala East Farmers and Marketing Union Chairman, said the Union started in 2005 with a total membership of about 125 comprising both female farmers from seven communities in the District. But it had shot up to 442 members from 23 communities.
As the mouth piece of producer farmer groups, the Union plays various roles including credit linkages and recovery, produce mobilization, creating access to agricultural inputs, payment of produce to Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs), production monitoring and advocacy.
Mr. Sulemani mentioned limited logistics, inadequate farm implement and extension services as some of the challenges confronting the forward march of the Union.
Mr. Joseph Apeeliga, the Regional Programme Officer of ACDEP, presented some office equipment, including a steel cabinet, five plastic chairs, calculators and some stationery for the running of the two offices.
Mr. Apeeliga also presented two threshers to each of the offices donated by the Savannah Farmers Marketing Company, (SFMC) a subsidiary of ACDEP and TUDRIDEP.
Mr. Issaka Diyaka, the Sissala East District Director of Agric, commended ACDEP and TUDRIDEP and their funding partners for bringing the farmers together to form Unions.
This would not only help in building their capacities but would also make them more vibrant in taking decisions that affected farming.
He promised to use the community radio station in the area to educate them on modern farming practices to enable them to increase their yields towards leaping out of poverty.