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We need more Agriculture Extension Officers – Farmers appeal to Government

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Farmers at Busa in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region have appealed to government to strengthen the Agriculture Extension Officers’ policy in order to help farmers improve on their farming activities.

According to them, officers that are well trained in the sector can sensitize farmers to understand better the modern farming method and application of chemicals on their crops.

Water pumping machine

The farmers say all farming communities across the country need at least one Agriculture Extension Officer to supervise their activities. However, that has not been the case.

Speaking to Dennis Bebane, A1 Radio’s Upper West Regional Correspondent in Wa, a 30-year-old Farmer Yahaya Naa Alhassan bemoaned how the absence of Agriculture Officers in the community affects their farming activities.

Female farmers

He said, “We need more agricultural extension officers across the country to supervise farmers’ activities. This will enable us to understand the best practices that we need to adopt in order to cope with the current climate change we are facing.

Some of us don’t know what period to start planting our crops and sowing the maize to march the poor rainfall pattern but what do us, do we do it on our own. This is affecting us negatively.

For farm inputs and spraying of crops, we use any quantity we think will yield good results for us. But if we have the officers with us we can easily consult them for advice.”

Male farmer

Busa is a farming community in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region. The community has a population of over one thousand, with majority of them being farmers.

How to get agricultural officials to educate them on the application of farm inputs such as fertilizer, and chemicals for spraying crops has been a major challenge over the years.

The 30-year-old Farmer Yahaya Naa Alhassan pointed out that the situation has contributed badly to post-harvest losses of many farmers in the community.

“These days the chemicals to spray the crops are expensive and the fertilizer is another factor if government can always subsidize the price for us during the dry season it will have been good for us so that we can afford for our crops.

As for the chemicals, the instructions for use are there for those who can read but those who cannot read, they apply it anyhow and sometimes it affects their crops.

So, I think if there would be Agriculture Extension Officers that will be visiting us from time to time, we can work well.” Mr. Naa Alhassan added.

Busa community has a well-constructed dam that supports farmers during the dry season. The dam over the past decades has employed more than five hundred farmers. Residents of the area have described the dam as a “life changer”.

They observed, that the dam over the years has reduced the rate at which the youth moved from the community to illegal mining also known as “Galamsey” areas.

The Farmers said though the dry season farming is lucrative, they do not have irrigation machines to enable them to farm on large scale.   They appealed to authorities and stakeholders to go to their aid.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Dennis Bebane|Ghana

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