Every first Friday in December each year is marked in Ghana as Farmer’s Day.
However, the celebration is moved to the first Friday in November in election years.
The day is set aside to honor and to celebrate farmers and fishers for keeping the nation alive.
As many call it a day of celebration, most farmers see the day as a day of shame and neglect.
The farmer is abjectly poor and ridden with debts.
The children of the farmer grows to inherit this neglect and debt, it never get better.
Farmers through their activities contribute 54% to the nation’s GDP and 40% of its export earnings. Farmers provide 90% of the country’s food needs.
Farmers deserve a big thank you for feeding us albeit some mishaps which confront them in their work.
Human survival is enhanced through the hard work and benevolence of farmers.
Unfortunately, it appears society cares not about the welfare of the farmer.
City dwellers are better consumers than being producers of foodstuffs.
Farming, as a business, is common among rural populations. Only a few rural folk are into tailoring, hair dressing, masonry, carpentry.
Ghanaian farmers usually produce crops like maize, millet, cassava, yam, potatoes, vegetables, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, pineapple, citrus, avocadoes, pawpaw and sugar cane.
Some too are into animal rearing, such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, grass cutters, rabbits, snails, fish and bees.
Crop and animal production is usually done on small parcels of land using rudimentary tools and technology.
Some intrinsic and extrinsic factors try to emasculate farmers’ ability to produce more to feed the nation especially those from the rural settings.
Government and other stakeholders need to put in maximum intervention to enable them increase productivity.
As a country whose economy is largely dependent on agriculture, we cannot allow any impediment to come between our people and the major activity on which we survive.
It is important to put our efforts where they are most needed, and it would give us the desired output.
Facts still remain that farmers’ concerns have not been sufficiently addressed.
Many challenges continue to thwart their production fortunes, ranging from l marketing to storage of produce.
As the saying goes a producer has no freedom until his/her commodity reaches the final consumer.
Efforts are always made to ensure that the right quantity and quality of produce gets to the consumer.
Farmers must strive to or be assisted to maintain high agronomic, husbandry and post-harvest standards.
This article seeks to dilate on some problems facing rural farmers in their farming activities.
The first and foremost issue here is funding.
Funds enable farmers to procure farm inputs, such as fertilizers, improved planting materials, good farm structures, vaccines, good breeding stocks, farm tools and equipment.
For lack of funds, farmers most often use old, genetically impure seeds as planting materials.
The extensive system of animal production is still in use. Reports indicate that the distribution of subsidized fertilizers is facing some hiccups as a result of inadequate funding.
Can we have any improved productivity with this current hoe and cutlass system?
Multilateral steps must be taken in educating farmers on the need for them to form farmer groups to enable them easily access the services of some machinery and implements, like tractors and ploughs.
Should government, corporate bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders redouble their efforts at removing impediments from the way of farmers, issues of poverty and hunger will also be a thing of the past.
Agriculture extension, veterinary, quarantine, engineering, research and animal husbandry services should be effectively extended to the rural farmers to enable them increase their lots.
Source: yagbonradioonline/Chipo Kwaku