The Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) has launched the Agro Policy Performance Barometer Report (APPB) report urging stakeholders and development partners to invest more in the agriculture sector.
The Coalition said the betterment of the lives of the people depended on the improvement of the agriculture sector with particular emphasis on the small-scale farmer.
The report titled: “The promise of success: adequate coordination and investment in small scale agriculture”, sought to assess the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) in the 2014 and 2015 production years in relation to tomato and rice production.
It focused on the indicators of the METASIP such as ensuring food security and emergency preparedness, increased growth in incomes as well as provision of extension services among others as the main basis for comparison and assessment of the performance of the agriculture sector.
The study which was conducted in ten rice and tomato farming communities in nine regions of Ghana(with the exception of the Central Region), solicited views from 660 tomato and rice farmers on areas such as mode of land preparation, access to subsidized fertilizer, use of certified seeds, access to credit facilities as well as access to improved storage facilities.
The report, among other findings, revealed that 80.3 per cent and 80 per cent of farmers sampled in 2014 and 2015 did not have access to subsidised fertilizers while 329 representing 52.7 per cent of the sample, used certified seeds in 2014 as against majority 95.5 per cent of them who had access to certified seeds in 2015.
Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, Coordinator of the GTLC, who launched the document in Wa, said more than 80 per cent of Ghanaian farmers were involved in small scale production and called for adequate support for small scale farmers to help improve production and enhance their incomes.
“There is the need for the government and partners to support this group of farmers to improve on their yields so as to enhance their income status”, he said.
Mr Akalbila said the objectives of the METASIP 1 seemed to have been missed due to the inadequate access to agriculture mechanisation services, improved seeds, credit facilities and improved storage facilities.
He urged all players in the agricultural sector to boost their policy implementation and coordination mechanisms to ensure strict adherence to policy objectives in order to better the lives of the vast majority in the agriculture sector.
Mr Richmond Zinbonche, Wa Municipal Agriculture Extension Officer, lauded the initiative of GTLC in coordinating efforts to improve the agricultural sector in Ghana, especially in rice production.
He said government has put appropriate measures to increase rice production through the Rice Sector Support Project and urged rice farmers to cultivate good varieties of rice.
Mr Yanaa Yahaya, a rice farmer at Bugbelle, said lack of access to improved rice varieties and packaging resulting from unimproved processing and storage hampered their access to markets.
He appealed to the government and other benevolent organisations to come to their aid by providing them with improved variety of seeds and create a rice value chain which would help improve yields and markets for their produce.