The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. George Oduro, has reiterated government’s commitment to establish mechanisation centres across the country to make it easier for farmers to access tractors.
The centres, with input devices, will be ready before June-July 2018, he said.
“Government has observed the farmers’ needs, hence the establishment and acquiring of things needed by farmers before the planting season,” he stated.
He announced this during a working visit to the Gushegu Municipality of the Northern Region to assess the progress of government support during the farming season.
Government, he said, is collating data from the harvest of farmers across the country to determine which areas need more warehouses.
He said the old ones constructed by the Cocobod are being rehabilitated to assist the perennial challenge farmers face in storing their produce after harvest.
Some farmers within the Gushegu Municipality expressed worry over lack of warehouses, which they said has compelled them to keep their farm produce in the only warehouse available – it also houses bags of fertiliser, a situation that could make the produce harmful when consumed.
“We are not happy to mix food with fertilizer, but the conditions compelled us to keep the fertiliser and grains in the warehouse,” they stated.
They have therefore appealed to government for more warehouses to store their farm produce so as to prevent any theft or destruction by bush-fire.
“We have some locations earmarked for constructing the warehouse, and if government can come to our aid to construct it, that will help farmers store their produce to prevent theft,” they said.
“Despite the increased yields by farmers in the 2018 harvest season with support of input devices and others under government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ), we are challenged with storage facilities and markets for the produce,” said the warehouse Manager, Mustapha Zak.
According to him, introduction of the buffer stock has helped farmers to get better prices – while it has also taken care of middlemen along the chain who used to cheat farmers.
About 4,585 bags of maize, Soya bean, millet, groundnut and rice produced by the farmers are in stock at a warehouse in Gushegu, he said.
Another farmer, Mahama Osman, said but for the invasion of Fall Army Worm, he and his fellow farmers would have harvested a lot more this season.
“I was able to harvest 240 bags of rice, 40 bags of maize and 50 bags of soybean this season, as compared to the 120 bags of rice, 30-35 bags of maize and 30-40 bags of soya bean previously,” he stated.