Business News of 2014-01-17

130,000 farmers to receive assistance

Nearly 130,000 Ghanaian farmers have been captured on a national database for farmers, designed to enable the government track their activities and offer them assistance on a regular basis.

Known as the National Farmers’ Registration Programme, the exercise, which started in 2010, has been registering farmers who are recognised by agricultural extension agents under the Extension Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Training and support

A management information system software to help the registration process was sponsored by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and other international organisations. GTZ also provided equipment such as computers and their accessories to MoFA and district and regional directors of MoFA underwent training on how to use the software for the exercise.

Officials of the Agricultural Extension Services (AES) in Accra regularly receive district and regional updates on farmers in the country.

A member of the team working on the programme, Mr Shaibu Muniru, told the Daily Graphic that the exercise was still going on and had so far been successful in the 194 operational districts under the AES.

Other benefits

The database is also expected to help farmers, farmer-based organisations (FBOs), agricultural producers, traders and processors to maximise their produce and also hold outreach programmes to solve marketing problems.

According to Mr Muniru, efforts had been intensified to register as many farmers as possible.

The Agricultural Extension Division of MoFA, which is mandated to undertake the exercise, is collaborating with agricultural extension agents (AEAs) for the development of a comprehensive database for the farmers.

The Northern Region recorded the highest number of farmers, 20,751, while the Upper East had the least number of 4,402.

Information

The AEAs gathered the required data on the farmers at the district level for onward transmission to the regional offices, from where the information was communicated to the national office before being factored into the national statistics.

Nigeria

Some African countries have adopted the system to extend support to their farmers. The Nigerian government, as part of efforts to ensure abundant food supply and even distribution of incentives to farmers in the country, is in the process of collecting and collating a comprehensive farmers’ database.

A Nigerian government official, Dr Ezekiel Oyemomi, was quoted as saying “gone were the days when only a few benefited from government assistance to farmers”.