The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has urged the incoming government to fulfil campaign promises made to farmers in the run-up to the December general elections.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times at a workshop on farm inputs in Accra last Friday, the Programme Officer of PFAG, Charles Nyaaba, reminded the president-elect of his promises including “one village one dam,” saying “these promises should be kept if he is to retain the confidence of farmers in the country.”
According to him, majority of farmers voted the President-elect into office based on a manifesto analysis done prior to the elections by the association, which scored the New Patriotic Party (NPP) higher than the outgoing National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“Farmers contributed a lot to the victory of the new government because during the campaign, PFAG analysed the manifestoes of all the political parties and we scored the NPP 69 per cent but NDC 38, based on how friendly their policies were to small-holder farmers.
“Those analysis were the basis on which the farmers made their decision and therefore voted massively to help bring the NPP to power. The reason was simple and that is to fulfil the promises which we believe will enhance the activities and livelihood of farmers,” he explained.
Mr. Nyaaba, therefore, urged the new government not to let farmers down but should demonstrate commitment to the welfare of peasant farmers who provided a great portion of food consumed in the country.
According to him, key among the promises was the decision of the new government to build a dam for each village in the northern part of the country.
He indicated that the one village one dam policy had been embraced by the farmers who were in earnest expectation that the new government fulfil it before its tenure ends.
Mr. Nyaaba also mentioned some other matters such as the conflict between “Fulani” herdsmen and peasant farmers across many parts of the country and the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee on Food and Agriculture to establish gender sensitive sub-committee on smallholder agriculture as some of the issues the new government should help address urgently.
Delivering a presentation on a research on access to quality farming inputs, a senior lecturer at the Department of Geography at the University of Ghana, Legon (UG), Professor Joseph Yaro urged government to make enough provision of farm input to small-holder farmers.
He stressed on the need for government to tailor its free distribution of fertilisers to intended targets especially in the rural areas to enhance their produce.
According to him, it was imperative that improved seeds and fertilisers be made available to the farmers because they were important for the transformation of peasant agricultural systems to small-scale commercial agriculture enterprises, through productivity increases which guarantee improvement in food security and farmer incomes.
Another senior lecturer at the Geography Department, UG, Dr. Joseph Teye, who co-presented the study with Prof. Yaro underscored the essence of an effective monitoring mechanism to detect pilfering of fertilisers, with associated rapid prosecution to retrieve state money and deter such practices.
He urged government to integrate modern fertilisers and animal manure to harness the ecological and economic productivity benefits inherent in these two.
By Charles Amankwa