Gov’t urged to increase agric funding

farmer_1Government has been called upon to develop mechanisms for better allocation of funds to the agricultural sector to enhance food production.

Mr John Nkaw, Program Officer of SEND Ghana, made the call during a policy dialogue on Smallholder Agriculture Research Findings organized by SEND Ghana in collaboration with the Peasant Farmers Associations among others at Yendi in the Northern Region.

Mr Nkaw said improved allocation of funds in the agriculture sector would help the farmers achieve their targets.

He said increase in budget allocation and disbursement did not necessarily imply increased benefits since additional resources had to go into recurrent expenditure instead of investment.

Mr Nkaw said the number of Agriculture Extension Officers in the country was inadequate as one officer is to 4,000 farmers and this meant that a lot of farmers were still not using the modern farming methods and agro chemicals.

He said this explains why farmers had, since 2006, been misusing the agro chemicals and killing their food crops and destroying the soil.

Mr John Deny, Field Officer of SEND Ghana, said the research showed that smallholder farmers could significantly contribute to economic growth by producing more to reduce poverty and ensure food security.

He said smallholder farmers needed better access to improved seeds, increase tractor services and fertilizer use to increase productivity as well as meet the demands of the ever changing urban and rural population.

According to the Field Officer, there were challenges in addressing gender disparity as investment in the sector were not reaching women farmers regarding the provision of support services.

Mr Deny said there were no mechanisms in place to target women specifically and that many of the farmers were not aware of the existence of certain support services such as tractors, fertilizer and agriculture extension services despite improvements since 2009.

During an open forum, the participants said in the whole of the Yendi Municipality, there were only nine agricultural extension officers who found it difficult to cater for the thousands of farmers in the area.

They, therefore, suggested that more agricultural extension officers should be trained on the use of agro chemicals because of their negative effects on the soil and crops such as soya, groundnut and cowpea.

Source: GNA

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