Small-holder farmers want guarantee prices for produce

women-farmingSmall-holder farmers in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region have appealed to government to provide minimum guaranteed prices and ready market for the major food produce.

They believe that guaranteed prices for major food produce such as maize, soya beans and groundnuts among others would be able to alleviate perennial poverty among rural small-holder farmers just as in the case of cocoa farmers.

The farmers made the appeal through a communiqué signed by Mr. Kassim Sulemana, Chairman of the Sissala Farmers’ Association during the 2013 World Food Day celebration in Tumu.

The event which was organized by ActionAid Ghana brought together about 300 participants from women farmer groups and the Sissala Farmers’ Network under the sub-theme: “Ensuring Farmers’ Market Access for Increased Income Levels and Sustainable National Food Security”.

The communiqué further appealed to government and the National Food Buffer Stock Company to consider setting up and managing warehouses at major food production areas such as the Sissala area to store surplus food produce as a buffer for sustained food security.

“Government should as a matter of urgency, prioritize and work on the Wa-Han-Tumu and Wa-Han-Gwollu roads as well as feeder roads linking major farming communities to open up the area to easy and accessible market centres”, it appealed.

The communiqué however acknowledged government interventions such as the fertilizer subsidy programme, the setting up of the tractor mechanization centres and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, the “block farming” and their benefit to the growth of the rural poor farmer.

Mr. George Dery, ActionAid Upper West Programme Manager said, in his opinion, farmers were the most important people in the world and therefore deserved to be celebrated on such a special day known as “World Food Day”.

According to him, adequate access to good markets coupled with guaranteed prices on some major food produce would be a greater motivating factor for small-holder farmers to produce more for an enhanced food security in the country.

Mr. Dery urged government to see farmers’ ability to produce in excess as an advantage and not a disadvantage, adding that, with proper access to good markets, the living conditions of these poor farmers would change for the better and poverty would be eradicated.

He said ActionAid since its arrival in the area had been supporting various rural farmers especially women groups through the provision of grain banks and irrigation facilities to enable them contribute to production.

Mr. Lawrence Kutir, an Official of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture advised the farmers that while demanding access to good markets and guaranteed prices, they should also adhere to good agricultural practices in order to improve on the quality of their yields to compete both locally and international.

Source: GNA

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