The Department of Agriculture in the Tano South Municipality on Friday held the Research, Extension farmer – Linkage Committee (RELC) planning session, at Bechem, in the Ahafo Region.
The RELC brought together researchers, agricultural extension officers, farmers and stakeholders, to find solutions to challenges faced by farmers in the agricultural value chain.
The RELC was held under the Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) project, to help reverse the declining growth of the agriculture sector, and to ensure food security.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture, Paul Addai, indicated that farmers presented their challenges, and the most pressing among them were given immediate attention, adding that “those beyond our capacity would be referred to the national headquarters.”
The Municipal Director indicated that the farmers identified constraints, including high cost of accessing farm machinery, unavailability of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) fertiliser and high incidence of pests.
He also mentioned the destruction of crops by stray animals, high incidence of post harvest loss of food crops, lack of ready market for produce, price standardisation of produce and bad roads linking farming communities.
The Ahafo Regional Extension Officer, Denis Danquah, said RELC was a proactive initiative under the department to improve production within the agriculture value chain, for the socio-economic growth of the country.
He was optimistic proper medication and good husbandry practices for farm animals, training farmers on good agricultural practices and integrated pest management, and effective usage of agrochemicals would solve most of the constraints enumerated.
“More farmer-based groups will be formed to negotiate for better price of produce. We will also hold talks between community leaders and animal owners on how to protect farms from stray animals invasion, “Mr Danquah assured.
The Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Augustine Peprah, commended the Department in the Ahafo Region, for improving agricultural activities in the area, through which the region won three national awards at the 2021 Farmers Day celebration.
He said the Assembly was working hard to acquire power tiller for rice farming in the municipality, and to develop a comprehensive agriculture policy document to help farmers find solutions to challenges in the value chain.
A farmer, Joyce Asini, on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the Department of Agriculture and partners for promoting the welfare of farmers, saying that “we hope the various constraints identified will be given the immediate attention.”
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, BECHEM