136 smallholder farmers and aggregators recognised during Peasant Farmers Day celebration

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A total of 136 smallholder farmers and aggregators have been recognised at the Inaugural Peasant Farmers Day celebration held at Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region for contributing significantly to the food basket of the country. 

The awardees received prizes ranging from farm inputs to home appliances including fridges, television sets, bags of fertilizer, knapsack sprayers, tarpaulin, insecticides, and cash.

It was organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), in collaboration with the Akuafo Nketewa Company Limited, a business unit under PFAG, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

It was themed: “Deepening  the role of smallholder farmers in promoting food and nutrition security in the midst of climate change and global crises”.

Dr Charles Nyaaba, the Chief Executive Officer, Akuafo Nketewa Company Limited, explained that more than 80 percent of the food consumed in Ghana was produced by  peasant farmers, however, their efforts were hardly recognised.

Most of them were mostly left out of the government’s annual farmers’ day celebration despite their immense contribution, he said, and that the maiden awards scheme was to motivate and attract more people into farming.

“Peasant farmers are responsible for all the raw materials we get for industries and export but in terms of reward, they are usually ignored,” he noted.

“I say this because most of the smallholder farmers are in the hinterlands and even travelling to the nearest district offices of department of Agriculture to access extension services and information is a problem.”

“But because we work with them and they are our members we need to recognise some of these people”.

As part of creating a support system for the smallholder farmers, a Credit Union was launched to provide loans for them to engage and improve upon their business.

Dr Nyaaba noted that access to finance from the banks had always been a challenge for smallholder farmers and the support from government was unsustainable, scaring youth and women from continuing or venturing into farming.

“With this Farmer Cooperative Union, the farmer can contribute some amount and whenever that farmer needs financial support, can access it.”

“The thinking is to establish the farmer cooperative union in the then 10 regions and form our own bank called the farmers bank.”

The occasion also saw the launch of a pension scheme to support the smallholder farmers in their old age.

Mr Wepia Awal Adugwala, President, PFAG, noted that climate change was hitting hard at the agriculture sector and posed significant threat to Ghana’s food security, and underscored the urgent need for adaptive agriculture.

He explained that apart from supporting smallholder farmers with subsidised farm inputs, improved seeds, and mechanisation services to reduce cost of food production, there was the need for government to invest in irrigation to encourage all year-round farming.

Mr Charles Ayuebono Adam, the Principal Agriculture Economist in charge of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, MoFA, said unlike the phase one of the planting for food and jobs, which was subsidy based, the second phase was input-credit base and encouraged the farmers to register to benefit from the programme.

Ms Christina Abaadaa, who won the best female sorghum producer, urged the government to support peasant farmers, especially the women, with tractors services, adding that: “anytime we are competing with men for tractor services, we don’t get it”.

By Anthony Adongo Apubeo

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