PFJ: Smallholder farmers get 40% subsidized multipurpose tractors for increased production

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Government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), in partnership with Knights A.S, a technology transfer company, has introduced subsidized agriculture engineering technology to aid small and medium scale farmers in production.

The initiative which falls under the mechanization module of government’ flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, is aimed at boosting the programme by equipping the farmers with appropriate mechanization options that is cost effective, saves time, as well as increase production.

The new technology comes in the form of mini tractors, with each tractor coming with accessories including a three-sided tipping trailer, mulchers, ploughs, rotavators, rotary tiller and pumps for irrigation. Other accessories are rice cutter, rice thresher, planters with fertilizer tanks, among others.

Speaking at an event to demonstrate the use of the equipment, Director of Agric Engineering Services Directorate of MoFA, Amatus Deyang acknowledged that smallholder farmers encounter difficulties in their farming operations due to lack of equipment, and expressed optimism that the technology introduced to peasant farmers will be a game-changer for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.

“The Ministry is implementing the ‘Planting for Foods and Jobs’ programme, and we have supported farmers with subsidized seeds and fertilizer, and when it comes to farming operations, it has been difficult for the farmers to undertake them. Most of the farmers do not have equipment on their farms which affects production.

In the light of this, government deemed it necessary to import machinery which can easily be handled by the small-scale farmer, and with this equipment, farmers will be able to carry out these operations on time so that they do not miss out on farming seasons,” he said, adding that the initiative, which is envisaged to increase production of crops and rice especially, and reduce post-harvest losses, would also help reduce spending on rice imports into the country.

In his remarks, Karl Laryea, who is the CEO of Knights A.S assured of the quality and durability of the solutions, stressing the it was tailor-made to fit the Ghanaian environment as agreed by his team and officials of the Ministry. “We had an arrangement with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, where they had challenges in harvesting and threshing of rice and we designed the rice cutting machine and the thresher. All these tractors are EU certified and very durable.”

He also added that his outfit provides after-sales services, including training of customers on proper use of equipment, and sale of spare parts as well.

On his part, Edward Laryea Koney, Awutu-Senya East District Director of Agric, expressed joy, recounting how difficult most of the farmers in their farmer-based associations faced difficulties due to lack of mechanized technology.

“Farmers find it really difficult in getting tractors to work. Sometimes, we travel far to access a tractor to plough, and when we are not able to get the tractor on time, it delays the planting, and because Agric is a time-bound activity, if you fail to plant at the right time, you fail to get good results. People still use the primitive methods of farming which also limits their production, so once we have these multipurpose machines, they can increase the sizes of their farmlands and their production as well as increase export.”

Mr. Laryea Koney said his team and other leaders are engaging farmers to come together as groups and acquire the machines.

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