Four political parties have called on the government to pump more money into the agricultural sector to enhance food security in the country and create more jobs, especially for the youth.
The All People’s Congress (APC), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on the occasion of Farmers’ Day celebration yesterday said since agriculture played a crucial role in contributing to socio-economic development, much efforts must be made to expand the sector.
The Founder of the APC, Mr Hassan Ayariga, appealed to the government to increase investment in the distribution of subsidised fertilisers, seedlings, and pesticides to farmers.
He said although farmers were the backbone of the country, they (farmers) should not only be used to celebrate farmers and fishers day but the government must roll out sustainable programmes and policies to support farmers.
Mr Ayariga urged the government to invest in the construction of warehouses and silos to encourage farmers to produce food, especially grains in large quantities with available space for storage to ensure food security.
He added that local fertiliser producers must also be supported to produce to meet the needs of farmers.
A Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Peter Boamah Otokunor, said it was the NDC’s hope that the government would continue to improve efforts towards making the farming business more attractive for the youth to venture into the agriculture sector.
He said in spite of the challenges facing the sector, farmers and fishers must not lose hope but rather remain dedicated.
“We (NDC) appreciate the difficulties farmers are going through and the government is not doing enough to make their work competitive so that it becomes profitable. We also know that the poultry industry has collapsed because the government has allowed the importation of eggs. Maize is becoming increasingly expensive just like other staples. Fertiliser is also becoming expensive,” he said.
Mr Otokunor called on the government to increase investment into the agriculture sector to make it attractive for the youth who are looking for opportunities to venture into.
For her part, the General Secretary of the CPP, Nana Yaa Akyempim Jantuah, urged the government to support farmers with more incentives and inputs.
She advocated better marketing opportunities for farmers, stressing that it was sometimes disheartening to see tonnes of farm produce going waste on farms.
Nana Yaa Jantuah also decried the condition of some of the roads leading to the farms which she said were so deplorable to the extent that the farmers were unable to cart their produce to the market, resulting in losses.
She said just as the CPP government under President Dr Kwame Nkrumah built factories close to farm gates, the government must consider such moves for value addition for farm produce.
“When you look at all the factories that were built, they were in a loop and most of them were close to farming communities where some of these produce could be manufactured into finished products for export.”
She said farmers should not only be celebrated in one day out of the 366 days where one winner gets a house, but scholarships should be offered to their children.
In a statement signed by its Communications Director, Mr Felix Mantey, the PPP urged the government to address the problems facing farmers such as access and cost of credit, access to agricultural lands, cost and availability of farm inputs, access to markets, poor road networks to farm gates and issues of pricing.
“To that end, we ask government to use its purchasing power to create a market for the Ghanaian farmer and fisherman, by ensuring that at all government functions only Ghanaian grown foods will be served. This is the best way to pay tribute to the Ghanaian farmer,” it stated.