The Department of Agriculture in the Kintampo South District on Friday held the Research, Extension farmer – Linkage Committee (RELC) planning session, at Jema in the Bono East Region.
RELC was a platform which brought together researchers, agricultural extension officers, farmers and the various stakeholders to deliberate on and to find solutions to challenges faced by farmers in the agricultural value chain.
It 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 District Director of Agriculture, Afia Asokua Ofori, stated that a total of 189 farmers from four zones namely Krutakyi, Kokuma, Akora and Sabule presented their challenges, where the most pressing among them were given immediate attention.
Mrs Ofori indicated that the farmers identified constraints namely high incidence of livestock and poultry diseases, fall army worm infestation, high cost of veterinary drugs and farm inputs.
She noted that others were the destruction of crops by cattle, high incidence of post harvest loss of food crops, lack of ready market and price standardisation of produce and bad roads linking farms.
The Bono East Regional Crops Officer, Eric Kantoma, disclosed that as part of measures to address last year’s challenges identified, three farmer – based groups were formed and linked to tractor service providers.
He was happy to announce that most of their farmers had adopted the usage of hermetic storage bags for cereals and legumes, as a best way to correct poor post – harvest handling of the produce.
Mr Kantoma was optimistic that 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 herdsmen on how to protect farms from cattle invasion ” he assured.
The Regional Crops officer indicated that the various challenges in the agriculture value chain enumerated, would be dealt with from the zonal level to the national headquarters.
A mango farmer, Mr Adjei Dufour, who chaired the session, thanked the Department of Agriculture and partners for promoting the welfare of farmers saying that “we hope the various constraints identified will be given immediate attention.”
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, JEMA