Government intends to establish at least one Agriculture Mechanisation Services Center (AMSEC) in every district, with the view to improving access to affordable agricultural equipment and mechanised services in the country.
It has, thus, signed a Concessional Credit Agreement with the Exim Bank of India for an amount of US$150m for the strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation Services Centres (AMSECs) project.
The AMSEC initiative is to assist in providing mechanisation services to small holder farmers in each MMDA who cannot afford their own machinery/equipment due to financial and other farming constraints.
Since 2007, AMSECs have received a number of support from government. Twelve (12) AMSECs were supported with machinery and equipment in eight regions at the end of 2007.
Between 2016 and 2017, an additional 79 AMSECs were assisted with a range of machinery and equipment under the Brazilian More Food International Programme, which brought the total operational AMSECs to 140.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr.Gyiele Nurah, informed the parliament’s finance committee that AMSECs play an important role in assisting farmers undertake the needed mechanisation on their farms.
He said 90 percent of farmers in the country are small scale farmers who use rudimentary methods of farming, and that in order to increase crop yield, there is the need to mechanise the entire farming processes.
Dr. Nurah also added that under the project, government will sell the machinery to the AMSECs at concessionary rates. There will also be a financial arrangement for centers buying a large number of machinery.
Furthermore, the machinery will be given at concessionary rates in order to reduce rent charges and also to ensure that farmers can procure the Centers’ services whiles the Centers stay competitive.
According to the Second Food and Agriculture Development Policy (FASDEP II,2007), about 90percent of farm holdings in Ghana are less than two hectares in size even though there are some large farms and plantations in the country.
The system of farming is traditional with hoe and cutlass as the main farming tools. There is little mechanised farming. Agriculture production varies with the amount and distribution of rainfall, as well as soil factors.
Most food crop farms are intercroped while mono cropping is mostly associated with larger-scale commercial farms.