Agric Ministry urged to develop guideline for selection of project beneficiaries

farmerGovernment has been urged to pay attention to women in agriculture, who constitute majority of smallholder farmers, and provide them with the needed support.

SEND Ghana, an agricultural-based NGO, urging the government, said the support could be given by constituting project committees in rural areas that would target women in agriculture to render the support.

The organization launched a report on Small Scale Farming in 24 farming communities in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the Greater Accra Regions on Monday.

The three northern regions were selected due to the high level of poverty among its rural dwellers while the Greater Accra Region was because of the high level of urban poverty.

The report was conducted between June 2012 and December 2012 in the selected communities.

SEND Ghana, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to develop a national guideline for the selection of project beneficiaries in order to ensure gender parity.

According to the report a lot of district assembles had failed to recognise agriculture as the predominant economic activity in their jurisdictions hence resulting in its near collapse.

The report also bemoaned the inequity in agricultural resource distribution as were unequal access to tractor services, irrigation, fertilizers and other.

The study also found out that in 2011 about 64 per cent of the respondents had experienced food insufficiency, and went at least one month or more without enough food at home while 71 per cent claimed they had not received any education on nutrition.

It also expressed concern about the weak coordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies resulting in over emphasis on agricultural production.

The report identified that very little focus had been placed on nutritional education.

It therefore suggested that nutrition studies which are a health concern should be placed under the Health Ministry rather than the Food and Agriculture Ministry.

“The issue around the relegation of nutrition education and training to the backyard is very worrisome and we would call on the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Council to take it up and ensure that the subject matter is addressed”, the report stated.

The report called on government to create more awareness on existing agricultural services, especially those delivered by district assemblies in order to increase farmers’ accessibility to them and build the capacity of Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) and other Farm Based Organisations (FBOs).

The study, however, commended government for the subsidy on fertilizers, making them more accessible to small scale farmers.

Mr Siapha Kamara, Executive Director, SEND West Africa, pledged his outfit’s readiness to work to improve the lot of farmers in Ghana and in Africa.

He noted that small scale farmers constituted about 40 per cent of Ghana’s population of 24 million and called stakeholders to offer them the needed for better output.

Source: GNA

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