Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called on government and all political parties to help empower the local seed industry by providing an enabling environment and logistical support to ensure that Ghana is seed sufficient.
The CSOs believe that government and political parties can, through their manifestos and policies, safeguard input supply chains for small-scale agricultural producers, poultry and livestock.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after a regional stakeholder engagement known as ‘Farmers Manifesto’ held in Tamale, the Northern regional capital. It was organized by the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency, Ghana (SWIDA-GH) with funding support from the Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA).
The event aims at strengthening the confidence and knowledge level of stakeholders from various districts that NGGA has presence in.
The communique further called for targeted stimulus package for smallholder farmers. This, they CSOs argue, has become necessary because the operations of most smallholder farmers are informal and may not have registered names and tax identification numbers required by businesses to access state-sponsored interventions.
It brought together 43 participants from 13 NGG Activity districts including representatives of focal CSOs, Women in Agriculture Platforms, and the northern regional multi-stakeholder platform.
Research by some CSOs in agriculture on the level of implementation of government’s agricultural initiatives, such as: Planting for Food and Jobs; One Village, One Dam; One District One Factory; Planting for Export and Rural Development and; One Constituency, One Warehouse reveals that implementation has been poor; thus, the benefits of the initiatives are not being realised because the decision-making process was not inclusive and participatory enough.
The ‘Farmers Manifesto’ is a document compiled in 2012 by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and farmers that captures the concerns and issues of smallholder farmers for the attention of governments and political parties.
“Limited attention is given to critical issues affecting women and men small-scale farmers in Ghana, due to the under representation of women and men small-scale farmers at policy and decision-making tables at national, regional and local levels,” the communique said.
According to the CSOs, it is important that political parties and government put in place mechanisms that would progressively draw attention to the needs and concerns of small-scale farmers and allow them to participant actively in national development.
Hajia Alima Sagito Sa-eed, Executive Director for SWIDA-GH in an interview with the B&FT said “food is equally a political matter” and therefore requires commitment and urgency to address the many challenges facing production. “A truly progressive leadership will see the need to invest highly in the development of the agribusiness industry”.
“Acquisition of land is still a big challenge for women, particularly for women who want to go into large-scale farming,” she added.