The Abrono Organic Farming Project (ABOFAP), a farmer-based organisation in the Techiman Municipality has called for a policy guideline on organic crop certification for easy market access in the country.
The organisation noted with concern that currently four private international organizations were certifying crops organically produced for exports with their activities centralized in Accra.
At a news conference in Sunyani, Nana Kwao Adam, Executive Director of ABOFAB, observed that the policy document of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture ‘s (FASDEP 1 and 2) did not provide clear policy direction and support to the development of organic farming.
He emphasised the need for a policy that would provide adequate support for promoting and developing the organic farming with the government playing a facilitation role by setting up a development fund to strengthen the sector.
Nana Adam, who is the Twafohene of Forikrom in the Municipality, said many farmers in the municipality had shown interest in organic farming because of its international marketing opportunities.
He said due to lack of technical knowledge, farmers in the sector were moving out.
The Executive Director expressed grave concern about the misapplication of chemicals and chemical residue on food in the domestic market which consequently led to food poisoning.
Nana Adam said Ghana could develop its organic agriculture with consistent policy framework.
Mr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Business Service Provider for ABOFAP, noted that organic farming was one of the main contributors to national food security.
He said the project with funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC FUND) conducted a research on organic farming in the municipality.
Mr. Benarkuu said the research revealed lack of access to information on organic product certification, poor financing in the organic agricultural sector as well as lack of domestic and ready market for organic produce as the major factors militating against the development of the sector.
He said currently there was lack of commitment by the appropriate authorities to decentralize and enforce organic food certification guidelines.
This, he said made it difficult for farmers to access good market and fair prizes.
Mr. Benarkuu mentioned indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals environmental degradation, unsafe food production and loss of capital investment for organic farmers as some of the problems facing the sector.
He stressed the need for MOFA and the private organic food certifying bodies to form alliance to develop organic farming businesses as a means to create wealth and ensure food security and sovereignty.
Mr. Benarkuu observed that all organic farmers were gradually going out of business.
He said currently there was no Agriculture college in the country which pursued modules on organic farming and marketing, a situation which had contributed to the collapse of the sector.
“There is also no organic desk officer at the MOFA offices” he added, stating that in South Africa and Kenya, organic farming had contributed immensely to poverty reduction and job creation.