Government urged to address challenges of marketing agric produce

Mr. Banuoku, conducting journalists round one of the FMNR conservation sites at Pavu-Kunzale in the Lawra District of the Upper West Region.

Mr. Banuoku, conducting journalists round one of the FMNR conservation sites at Pavu-Kunzale in the Lawra District of
the Upper West Region.

The Deputy Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), Mr. Daniel Banuoku has urged the government to take a critical look at the marketing of agricultural produce if it was to succeed with its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

According to Mr. Banuoku the challenge that confronts farmers in the country currently was not necessarily an issue of low productivity but lack of access to market which makes the marketing of farm produce difficult for farmers.

“The whole programme though laudable may run into difficulties if government does not reconsider the strategies for its implementation. We still have seasonal glut due to the poor distribution channels in terms of marketing of farm produce and therefore further increasing the capacity of farmers to produce more when the little they produce already has no sustainable market will rather further impoverish them,” he emphasised.

Mr. Banuoku who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of a three-day workshop on agro-ecology and Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) for selected journalists here said any intervention that sought to harness the potential of agricultural opportunities was welcomed but such intervention must be placed in proper contest in order not to worsen the already bad conditions of farmers.

The workshop was on the theme, ‘The role of agro-ecological farming and agro-pastoralist system for resilience in northern Ghana’ and was organised by CIKOD.

It was aimed at equipping journalists and media practitioners with the requisite knowledge on key issues around agro-ecology and help influence policy.

Mr. Banuoku said there was the need for those calling for improvement in agricultural yields as a means of alleviating poverty to avert their minds to such factors as the agro-ecology of the farmers as well as the needed ancillary services.

“If we really want to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the rural farmer, then there is the need to improve infrastructure that will create the needed access for the marketing of their produce at the right prices,” he stressed.

Mr. Banuoku said beyond providing access, reducing poverty among farmers in the country must be seen from the point of intensification through resilient ecological practices other than just the expansion of farm lands.

He explained that while the provision of subsidies on agricultural inputs such as improved seeds and fertilisers by the government, were not necessarily bad, it does not help in the creation of a resilient environment for farmers thus worsening their plight.

“For the first year of the implementation of the PFJ, government is spending a total of

GHȻ 238,762, 500.00 on fertiliser alone, however, if only 10per cent of this amount is set out to help the poor farmer to produce their own compost manure at the local level,  its impact may be far greater than what is anticipated,”  he added.

He explained that the over-reliance on chemical fertilisers and agro-chemical inputs tend to weaken the resilience of the ecology thereby enslaving poor farmers to these inputs which invariably impoverish them instead of addressing their poverty challenges.

Mr. Banuoku therefore urged stakeholders in promoting agriculture to adopt FMNR as an appropriate technology for farming since beyond increasing yields, it also helps conserve and build resilient ecology.

Some of the farmers who spoke to the “Times” expressed their satisfaction with the adoption of the FMNR because; they had no need for fertilisers and other agro inputs.

From: Cliff Ekuful, Lawra

 

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