The Government has been urged to prioritize and invest in smallholder agricultural mechanization in order to boost and sustain food production and better economic returns for farmers, as it pursues its economic transformation agenda.
Mr. Paul Apau, the Organizing Secretary of the Asante Effiduase Kroye Farmers’ Cooperative Union in the Sekyere East District, said the provision of agricultural mechanization inputs such as tractors, ploughs and harvesters to smallholder farmers – the largest workforce in the country’s agriculture.
“This is the way to go to make the government’s flagship agricultural programmes, a reality”, he said.
Addressing an ordinary meeting of the group at Effiduase on Wednesday, he said government should do more in the provision of supplementary support to farmers in the areas of farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and others, under the PFJ and PERD, since the current supply is woefully inadequate to meet modern agricultural production and food demand.
“Government’s urgent response to this would have many key advantages which would not only lead to high farmer productivity level and returns to transform livelihoods but generate employment”, he said.
Additionally, he said, the move would also aid in attracting the youth to facilitate their engagement in the agricultural value chain, in place of the ageing majority of smallholder farmers.
Mr Appau pointed out that ‘‘we lack the financial capacity to acquire modern agricultural tools and equipment though our production activities demand a lot of labour”.
With the needed input support, he said the group could produce 10 hectares of maize, cassava and plantain annually, rather than last year’s two acres produced.
“This was even made possible through family farming approach – a free labour strategy, whereby our own members provide labour free of charge on each member’s farms”, he stated.