Maize farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region fear losing their investments to poor harvest, as irregular rainfall pattern lingers.
Areas such as Sunyani West, Berekum and Tain have not recorded any rainfall in weeks though it’s the rainy season
The Region is one of the leading maize growing areas in the country, accounting for about 35% of the total national production. But it appears maize production level in the region will reduce drastically this year in the face of unreliable rains and absence of irrigation systems.
A 42-year-old famer, Kofi Vinyo, has cultivated over 313 acres of maize around Odomase in the Sunyani West district. In an interview with B&FT, he expressed the anxiety over harvesting next to nothing on a large portion on his farms because of unfavourable climatic condition.
“After toiling to secure little funding for such farming project, it’s very disheartening to see the crops prematurely drying up, all because of a natural phenomenon which could have been taken care of if there were to be an effective irrigation scheme. I started constructing an irrigation system but I got stuck halfway due to financial constraint.
“The signs are now clear that climatic change has now come to stay with us and it’s therefore incumbent on government to institute practicable policies topromote irrigation farming. This will help ensure all-year farming in the country to make farmers more competitive,” he stated.
According to him, he has acquired a total of about 2,700 acresof land for commercial farming. But there are some glaring challenges militating against commercial farming in the country, saying “there are no practical and result-orientedagricultural policies to encourage individuals into large-scale farming.”
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture office in the Sunyani West District does not have any agricultural machinery to support mechanization; there must be a plant pool to bolster that course. With the issue of agricultural funding, the least said about it, the better.”
He said over the years, government agricultural programmmes such as the supply of subsidised fertilizer have only been in the interest of small-scale farmers but that have not improved the fortunes of agriculture in the country. He urged government to take steps in support of commercial farmingto ensure food security would be guaranteed as well as contribute meaningfully to economic growth.