Some stakeholders in the agricultural sector in the Upper West Region has expressed disappointment about the frequent changes in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in agriculture.
They advised government to come out with long term policies and programmes that could stand the test of time and beneficial to farmers rather than confusing them with too many agriculture policies.
The stakeholders expressed their frustration at a Regional Stakeholders Orientation Forum during the presentation of a Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) for the region in Wa on Thursday.
The document contains the policy vision of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and seeks to modernise the sector through the injection of finances and adaptation of best practices to help reduce poverty.
The farmers explained that the duplication of policies and programmes meant that government had failed in implementing successfully the many policies and programmes planned for the agricultural sector.
They called on government give a regional focus to the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes on agricultural development while it also encourage the effective participation of the private sector in the importation of tractors and other agricultural machinery into the country.
“Government should stop its monopoly on the importation of agricultural machinery and other equipment; as the practice tends to put too much pressure on government and cause a lot of frustration to farmers.
The farmers said soils in the north were becoming fragile and advised government not to place too much emphasizes on the importation of tractors alone to the neglect of encouraging farmers to use animal traction and other simple implements for agricultural production.
“We are also not happy that tractors imported into the country only come with their ploughs and sometimes, some come with no trailers and other components that farmers needed to use to boost agriculture”, the participants lamented.
They appealed to government to make tractors and other farm machinery spare parts available and at affordable prices to farmers to rehabilitate their broken down machines.
On loans, the farmers suggested that henceforth, loans given to farmers by the banks should be in the form of inputs and not direct cash to help prevent misuse.
The farmers called on Ministry of Food and Agriculture to encourage farmers to utilize dams and other water bodies to increase food and animal husbandry production. Efforts should also be made to mechanize boreholes for agriculture production.
Traditional rulers, farmers, agriculturalists, lectures from the University For Development Studies (UDS), scientists from Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, among others, attended the forum.
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