SEND-Ghana advocate more attention to smallholders

Mr John Nkaw, Northern Regional Programmes Officer of SEND-Ghana, has called on the government and its various decentralized organisations responsible for agriculture, to focus more on smallholder farmers, especially women since they are the backbone to the sector.

He said the contributions of smallholder farmers to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could not be over-emphasized yet farmers’ access to government’s agricultural inputs remained negligible, a situation he indicated could easily be addressed by extending tractor and inputs services to them to upscale their production.

Mr Nkaw was presenting a research report conducted by SEND-Ghana in 24 districts in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the Greater Accra regions where it revealed that smallholder farmers were still being marginalized, especially women in access to various farm inputs.

He said there was still very high poverty among smallholder farmers across the areas in which the research was carried out despite the consistent attempt by the government to meet the Maputo protocol where various African nations promised to allocate 10 per cent of their budget to agriculture.

“There is no gender parity of beneficiaries in governments’ agricultural programmes. The reliance on self-selection for the identification of programme and project beneficiaries has not been conducive for increasing women’s participation in government initiatives”, he said.

Mr Nkaw said about 64 per cent of the 750 total respondents had suffered food deficiency, and went at least one month or more without enough food at home.

“Small-holder farmers need more secured access to irrigation, better access to improved seeds, tractor services and fertilizer to increase productivity as well as meet the demands of a changing urban and rural population”, he stressed.

He recommended the need for more investments in the agricultural sector to improve the productivity of smallholder farmers stressing that a successful re-examination of the selection criteria and a possible twin tracking of gender mainstreaming approach would largely ensure that women benefit from government intervention in a meaningful manner.

Mr Damma Mumuni, a Deputy Planning Officer of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, praised SEND-Ghana for coming out with such a report since it would inform them on the review of the new planning policy of the unit.

He said efforts were being made to address weaknesses in coordination in the planning unit of most decentralized organizations with the eventual hope of mainstreaming strategies in the agricultural sectors.

Source: GNA

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