76 per cent donor funds wasted on low yields

xxx (1)Seventy-six per cent of financial assistance given to small holder farmers by donor agencies is spent on the cost of production thereby contributing to low yields.

“The highest expenditure of small holder farmers is cost of hired labour, followed by fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides among others and this puts lots of pressure on their budget leading to low production.”

A survey conducted by SEND-Ghana in the country between 2011 and 2014 has revealed.

This came to light during a national stakeholders’ dialogue to assess the effectiveness of donor investment and expenditure into the agricultural sector.

The event which was organised by SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organisation in partnership with OXFAM, was attended by members of the legislature, representatives of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Farmer Associations and Civil Society Organisations(CSOs).

Addressing the conference, Evans Gyampoh, a consultant with SEND-Ghana indicated that the country received over 700 million dollars from donor agencies including the World Bank and the United States of America from 2011 to 2014.

He said access to credit facilities, market, storage facilities, extension services and the application of new agronomic practices were necessities to transform small holder farming in the country and ensure its sustainability.

He called on grassroots CSOs to team up with think-tanks at the national level to exchange ideas and strengthen policies to boost agriculture in the country.

Mr. Gyampoh urged government to adopt proactive strategies in ensuring that budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector achieved the expected results and improved the standards of living of farmers.

He further appealed to government to develop financing schemes for small holder farmers and put in place effective monitoring and evaluation models to assess the impact of agricultural projects.

Mr. Siapha Kamara, the Chief Executive Officer of SEND-Ghana said the agricultural sector was an essential component of the economy and significant to alleviate poverty in the country.

According to him, government must “desist from paying lip services” to the sector and invest in new methods which were capable of improving the sector, adding that “we should advance new methods including climate change, resistant technologies, agricultural research and education to increase production”.

The Country Director for OXFAM, Sebastian Tiah expressed worry over food insecurity in the country, saying “over the years, we have seen investment in the agriculture sector, yet it is not yielding the desired results”.

He advised government to encourage investment into the sector to promote growth and not be over dependent on donor agencies that normally have their restrictions.

By Abigail Annoh

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