The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has applauded the government for the five per cent increase in fertilizer subsidy.
Alhaji Mohammed Abdul Rahman, the National President, said they found the upward adjustment of the subsidy from 21 to 26 per cent significant and commendable.
He, however, pleaded for further reduction of the price of fertilizers to make these affordable to the smallholder farmer.
He was speaking at the launch of an “Agro-ecology project” in Techiman, to be implemented by the association.
The project is being funded by Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), an NGO, with the African Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) and Organization for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (OSARD) as the other implementing partners.
The goal is to promote appropriate agronomic practices to sustain increased food production.
Mr. Rahman said the association was not unaware of the stepped up effort by the government to support the growth of the agricultural sector and appreciated that.
He cited the introduction of organic fertilizer as part of the fertilizer subsidy project, revamping of collapsed agro-businesses and irrigation projects.
He drew attention to the need to improve farmer access to agricultural extension services to expose them to new farming technologies.
That, he said, required lifting of the employment freeze on agricultural extension officers.
Mr. Rahman kicked against the imposition of 20 per cent tax on imports including agro equipment, saying, the farmers were already finding it difficult to buy these equipment and that the tax would make things worse for them.
He called for deliberate steps to be taken to woo investors into the sector to support ‘agro-ecology and climate resilient farming’.
Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, the Food and Agriculture Minister, in a speech read for him, announced the incorporation of ecological organic agriculture into the nation’s revised medium term agriculture sector investment plan.
An organic desk, he said, had been set up to participate in the implementation of the “Pro-Eco-Organic Africa Project” which sought to generate scientific evidence and knowledge on the productivity and profitability of organic farming systems in Ghana and Kenya.
The Minister expressed concern about reports of abuse of agro chemicals and advised leadership of the association to cooperate with the ministry to address that to enhance food safety.