The current and emerging constraints facing the countries agriculture sector needs measures to intensify the adoption of mechanisation to enhance food production and security, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has said.
He said the erratic rainfall, over-aged farmer population, demand for high quality produce from the market and low productivity emphasised the need for innovation through mechnisation to boost food production.
Dr Akoto stated this in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Director of the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Patrick O. Aboagye, during the launch of Massey Ferguson new range of farm machinery in Accra yesterday.
Massey Ferguson products in Ghana are solely distributed and sold by Mechanical Lloyd Plc.
Speaking on the topic “Importance of Agricultural Mechanisation in ensuring Food Security in Ghana,” the minister said the subject of mechanisation should be revisited with a new holistic approach.
“Presently, there is recognition from stakeholders for the need to increase mechanisation rights across the agricultural value chain from land preparation, planting, crop maintenance through harvesting and handling of produce.”
He noted that; “This will surely lead to more commercially viable farms and increased productivity of food crops in the country.
He said approximately 70 per cent of farmers in the country operated at small-scale level with traditional tools such as hoe and cutlass producing about 65 per cent of agricultural output.
Dr Akoto disclosed that out of the eight million hectares of land suitable for machanised farming, barely 30 per cent of this productive land had been cultivated.
To address the challenge of mechnisation, he said the government in 2007 introduced the Agricultural Mechanisation Service Enterprise Centers with the aim to assist the private sector to take a lead role in rendering well organised and commercially viable machanised services to farmers.
Dr Akoto commended Mechanical Lloyd Plc for the role the company had played over the past 50 years to promote agriculture in the country by distributing Massey Ferguson range of agricultural machineries.
“The government will continue to partner giants the likes of Mechanical Lloyd Company to deliver efficient and smart agricultural technologies to all categories of farmers in Ghana,” he said.
The Managing Director of Mechanical Lloyd Plc, Mrs Kalysta Darko-O’Kell, said the introduction of the Massey Ferguson range of products was to boost agricultural production in the country.
She said the Massey Ferguson new products included harrows, ploughs, planters, sprayers, trailers, material handling and hay and forage.
“All these implements and machines have been developed to allow the farmer work better and produce more,” Mrs O’Kell said, adding that Massey Ferguson tractor could also serve as a generator.
She said the first five customers who bought the Massey Ferguson would receive a harrow for free.
The Business Development for Africa for AGCO, the owners of Massey Ferguson, said the objective of AGCO was to introduce innovative product to enhance productivity for farmers.