Crop Farmers in Koluedor, a farming community located in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra region who are into cultivation of tomatoes, pepper, water melon and onion, have expressed concerns over the lack of government support for farmers and agricultural businesses in the area.
According to the farmers, lack of assistance and intervention by the government to overcome the numerous challenges they face, such as insufficient access to modern farming equipments, including mechanized equipment and irrigation systems, which are crucial for maximizing crop yields, they are left to toil manually, leading to lower productivity and lower income levels.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of the country’s economy, providing employment opportunities and contributing significantly to the nation’s food security.
However, these farmers claim to have been neglected by the government, leaving them with limited resources and inadequate infrastructure to enhance their productivity.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaianvoiceonline.com, the Secretary of the Koluedor Crop Farmers Association, Clement Aflo, highlighted several issues faced by farmers, including the high cost of seeds and plowing, the cheap prices buyers come to give farmers as well as the poor road network that hampers the transportation of harvested crops.
“In addition, the absence of effective extension services has hindered the dissemination of vital information on technological advancements, crop management practices, and pest control techniques. This has left the farmers ill-equipped to combat the various challenges posed by pests, diseases, and climate change”. Mr Aflo noted.
He emphasized the need for the government to provide loan facilities to the farmers to support their cultivation activities. “We need financial assistance from the government to purchase seeds and cover the expenses of plowing our lands. Without this support, it becomes very challenging for us to sustain our farming activities,” he stated.
Additionally, Mr Aflo raised concerns about the exorbitant cost of cultivating tomatoes. “The cost of tomato cultivation is extremely high, and this has greatly affected our profit margins. It is disheartening to see that buyers, due to the absence of storage facilities, dictate the prices of our produce”.
Highlighting the plight of the farmers, he further pointed out that the absence of proper storage and processing facilities has resulted in post-harvest losses, reducing the income potential for farmers, saying; without access to cold storage and processing units, perishable farm produce remains at the mercy of spoilage, limiting market opportunities and profitability.
Mr Aflo appealed to the government to provide storage facilities for the farmers to safely store their produce and to intervene by constructing storage facilities that will help us preserve theirproduce and ensure better market prices for the farmers.
Moreover, the Secretary pleaded with the government to establish factories in the Ada West District and to directly purchase the produce from the farmers pointing out that this strategy would break the monopoly of buyers who set low prices for the farmers’ tomatoes.
“By buying directly from us, the government can stabilize the market and ensure fair prices for our produce,” he stressed.
Mr Aflo also expressed concern over the current situation, where buyers are purchasing tomatoes for as little as 200-350 cedisper box emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue, as it severely affects the livelihoods of the farmers.
He called on the government to implement policies that prioritize the needs of small-scale farmers and boost agricultural development in the area stressing the importance of targeted investments in infrastructure development, including the provision of reliable irrigation systems, access to improved seeds, and subsidized fertilizers.
Mr Aflo also pleaded with the government for the establishment of training programmes and workshops to educate farmers on modern agricultural practices and the adoption of climate-smart technologies.
He was hopeful that with substantial government support, they can increase crop yields, enhance their livelihoods, and contribute significantly to the economy and argued that a thriving agricultural sector in Koluedor will not only benefit farmers but also create employment opportunities for the youth, reduce rural-urban migration, and ensure national food security.
“As the concerns of our farmers grow louder, it is imperative for the government of Ghana to hearken to our pleas and devise comprehensive strategies that address the challenges faced by farmers in Koluedor. By empowering the farmers with the necessary knowledge, resources, and infrastructure, the government can unlock the untapped potential of the agricultural sector in the Ada West District, propelling sustainable economic growth and overall development”. He noted.
Mr Aflo, therefore called on the government to prioritize the agricultural sector, provide loan facilities to support farmers, establish storage facilities, and set up factories in the Ada West District.