The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has proposed that in budgeting for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, substantial allocation should be reserved for the support and promotion of the local seed industry.
The leadership of the Farmer Association said they had identified three main areas in the agricultural sector which needed government’s attention for improvement.
These areas are promotion of local capacity for input production, access to appropriate farm machinery and post-harvest management/Agro processing.
A statement issued in Accra by PFAG said in response to the call by the Ministry of Finance on citizens to submit input into the 2019-2022 Budget, and having consulted with its members across the country has identified these areas.
It said in the area on promotion of local capacity for input production, the PFAG proposed that there should be increased public investment in the seed sector for Ghanaian seed growers to increase their seed production.
It said that would create more jobs, increase crop productivity and contribute to achieving the vision of “Ghana beyond aid”.
The statement said the focus now should be on the increasing support for development of foundation seeds and certified seeds for the open pollinated seeds and hybrid seeds.
On access to appropriate farm machinery, the Association recommended that the State facilitates the manufacturing or importation of appropriate mechanization such as power tillers, small planters and harvesters, corn shellers, shea pickers and steamers, hand weeders, cassava harvesters, which addresses their specific needs.
According to the statement, these appropriate farm machinery were currently being practiced in India, China and many countries in Europe and that was possible through the provision of financial guarantees or tax incentives for manufacturers and importers.
“Farmers and farmer groups with credibility should be identified and supported to purchase these machines at affordable prices,” it added.
The statement said local fabricators such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), GRATIS and KUMASI MAGAZINE could all be supported financially and the youth trained on appropriate and better designs to manufacture specific machines and their spare parts of local relevance in Ghana.
It said government over the years had focused on investment in food production with little investment to reduce post-harvest losses.
It said whiles investing in fertilizer and seeds was not entirely bad, post harvest losses pose more threat to food security campaign than low production.
According to the statement available statistics indicate that as much as 60 per cent of yam produced in Ghana are lost through post-harvest losses, while according to Africa post-harvest loss information system, losses in maize, rice and sorghum was pegged at 5-70 per cent, 11- 27 per cent and 5-15 per cent respectively.
“That of perishable foods like Tomato, watermelon, cabbage, garden egg, among others, could be as high as 100 per cent in some occasions,” it said.