Smallholder farmers in northern Ghana have called on all political parties contesting the 2020 general election to include in their campaign manifestos, new stimulus packages to improve their welfare and activities.
According to them, the operations of most small-scale farmers in the country are informal and therefore may not be registered with tax identification numbers, which qualify them as micro, small and medium size businesses to access credit facilities.
This was announced at a multi stakeholder engagement carried out by the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency, Ghana (SWIDA-GH) with funding support from the Northern Ghana Governance (NGG) Activity.
About 43 members from 13 NGG activity implementing districts including representatives of focal Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Women in Agriculture Platforms and the Northern Regional multi-stakeholder platform participated in the discussion christened: “Farmers Manifesto” in Tamale.
The smallholder farmers argued that limited attention is given to critical issues affecting women and men small-scale farmers in Ghana, due to the under-representation of these groups at policy and decision-making tables at all levels of national importance.
Consequently, the farmers emphasized the need for political parties and governments to initiate mechanisms that would progressively draw attention to the needs and concerns of small-scale farmers and allow them to participate actively in national development.
In view of this, the participants unanimously reiterated the need for the “Farmers Manifesto” in the agriculture sector to be carried forward for new strategies of engagement.
Implementation of Agric sector policies
THE CUSTODIAN understands that research conducted by some CSOs on the implementation of government agricultural sector initiative such as Planting for Food and Jobs, One Village One Dam, One District One Factory; Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) among others have been poor, believing decision-making process on these policies were not inclusive and participatory enough.
The smallholders in one of their recommendations advised the government and the various political parties to strengthen their agricultural policies particularly in the food crop sector not only the age-long state investment in cash crop production.
“There is the need for Governments to invest in the food system including production, processing, transport and consumption” the farmers added.