Dr John Yaw Akparep, the Research Director for the Centre of Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO), has observed that this was an ideal time for the government to intensify the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.He said the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had affected importation of farm inputs such as agrochemicals resulting in scarcity and increase in the prices of those inputs.
Dr. Akparep, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on Tuesday, added that the pandemic had brought economic hardship on smallholder farmers.
He said that had made it virtually impossible for the farmers to procure those farm inputs to improve their farming activities.
“Some of the things we used to import, we are no longer having access to them because of the border closure and other things.
“So definitely, if we have to import agricultural inputs, as a result of the border closure and whatever … not much attention is paid to bringing those inputs into the country, and the few that are around definitely will go for higher prices, and not everybody can afford,” he explained.
While commending the government for taking the initiative to support Small and Medium scale Enterprises in the country, Dr. Akparep, entreated the disbursement institutions to make those funding support accessible to farmers.
He said if the government support was accessible to all farmers it would serve as a relief to the farmers in their production activities.
“Government fund for supporting SMEs has come at the right time, but how many people in the rural areas are able to access those support,” he indicated.
Dr. Akparep observed that the COVID-19 pandemic could wreak havoc in the agricultural sector globally, affecting food importation in the country.
That, he said, had necessitated the need for the government to intervene to ensure that agricultural production in the country was improved to avert any unforeseen circumstances.
“If it were to be in Ghana alone, we could be sure other countries will produce where we can import from, but this is a worldwide problem, and other places even have worse situations than ours.
“So naturally, importation will not be as it is supposed to be, and production will not be as it is supposed to be, it is not going to be favourable this year like other years,” Dr. Akparep explained.