Small holder farmers want female extension officers

farmer_1Small holder farmers have expressed their preference for the services of female Agriculture Extension officers since they have enough time to explain issues compared to their male counterparts.

The farmers have thus called on government to include more women in Agriculture Extension service.

Mr Joseph Awantungo, a Lead Researcher at Pinnacle Investment Group Limited, made this known when he presented a survey report on Agriculture Extension service and its ratio to small holder farmers in Ghana in Accra on Wednesday.

The survey commissioned by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and supported by BUSAC Fund forms part of an advocacy campaign to increase the Agricultural Extension service for Small holder farmers.

He said it was established that few women were involved in agricultural extension service but most women farmers prefer the services of their colleague.

He said the survey findings indicated that only about 10 per cent of farmers were getting extension services as the current farmer to extension ration stands at 1:3000.

He said even though all the farmers interviewed admitted they have heard of extension officer but majority never had the opportunity to access their services.

Mr Awantungo said farmers have also acknowledged the importance of extension services in agronomic practice adding that “through extension officers we get to learn new methods of farming particularly in how to control diseases.”

“They also admit that the development of agriculture largely depends on access to new technologies and information,” he said.

He recommended that agriculture training institutions should be made to increase the intake of female extension officers training ratio from 5 per cent every year  50 per cent.

He also said agriculture extension officers should be posted after their training as done in the instance of teacher, nurses and other professionals.

He called on government to address some of the constraints of the extension officers to increase their activities in crop production to feed the nation.

Madam Victoria Adongo, programme coordinator for PFAG, said the survey would be used as an advocacy tool to press on policy makers to increase these services to farmers.

She said agriculture extension service was a problem to farmers not only in Ghana but expressed the hope that if due attention is giving to the problem it would be a thing of the past.

Communities the study was conducted included Garu Tempani, Tugu, Nantong and Juni, Techiman, Nkoranza, Ada, Ashigbekope, Ashaiman and Osu Doku.

Source: GNA

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