Some farmers in Nyuoli in the Wa West District and Busa Tangazu in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region have expressed worry over the lack of access to agriculture mechanisation services to improve their agricultural activities as they prepare to harvest their farm produces.
They said the lack of these services such as threshing equipment was a disincentive to them since they were unable produce quality produce for the agriculture value chain.
The farmers, who were predominantly soybean farmers, made the call during a visit to the communities to, among other things, ascertain the impact of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Programmes on their farming activities.
To these farmers, the PFJ programme was a laudable initiative, however loses of farm produce during harvesting was a challenge.
They therefore appealed to the government and benevolent Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to come to their aid by providing them with mechanisation services to give meaning to the PFJ programme.
A farmer at Nyuoli in the Wa west District Madam Juliana Kundie said soybean farming was lucrative to women farmers in the community but lamented that threshing after harvest was challenge to them.
She therefore that more women would be encouraged to venture into soybean farming to better their economic status and to improve on their living standards if government and benevolent organisations provided them with threshing equipment.
Another farmer in the community, who only gave her name as Madam Cecelia, explained that the nutritional value of soybean products was enormous but that lack of support from government in the cultivation process had caused its production in the community to be dwindling.
She said soybean could serve as source of meat, oil extract and food ingredient as well as source of income for women but noted that they did not benefit from them due to the fall in soybean production among women.
For his part, a farmer at Busa Tangazu in the Wa East District, Thaddeus noted that farmers in the community were bedevilled with several challenges including erratic rain fall as well as lack of harvesting equipment.
This, he said, had led to post harvest lose among farmers in the community which discouraged some farmers from cultivating on larger scale.
He explained that about 80 per cent of farmers in the community were into soybean farming but regretted that conventional harvesting methods were impeding the success of farmers in the community.
Mr. Thadius Tambo Kuunuori noted that the traditional method of threshing with stick on the floor was difficult for some farmers, especially, women and added that it also reduced the value of the products which affected the prices on the market.
Agriculture was one of the major economic activities of a larger population of Ghana and considered the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
By extension, it wais a major contributor to the economic development of the country hence the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led government to initiate the Planting for Food and Jobs programme in 2017 to, among other things, provide subsidised farm inputs such as fertiliser and agrochemicals to farmers to improve their farming activities.
However, post harvest loses still remained one of the major challenges impeding the success of the programme as some farmers had to resort to the traditional methods of harvesting their farm produce which affected the quality of their produce.
This did not only affect the market value of the produce and the economic status of the farmer, but also affects the nutritional value of the produce.
It is therefore prudent for the government to provide farmers with mechanisation services including combine harvesters and threshers in the implementation of the PFJ programme to enable the farmers benefit from the programme.