Emmanuel Wullingdool, an Agriculture Policy Expert has implored financial institutions to help farmers succeed by providing low-interest loans to farmers; particularly smallholder farmers in rural areas.
Speaking on the Day Break Upper East Show on A1 Radio, Mr Wullingdool suggested that smallholder farmers have been unable to increase their investment in the farms due to the lack of capital.
He explained that, as it stands, farmers have to contend with excessively high-interest rates on loans contracted; a situation that discourages a lot of farmers from contracting these loans.
“Capital is very critical. If you talk to farmers about adopting good agronomical practices, it comes with a cost. If you say farmers should plant in rows, it is expensive. For you to engage labour, to plant in these rows, you need a certain level of investment. If you want to farm in the dry, where you need water, there is a need for dams and other equipment.”
“You need storage facilities for these things. So once you talk about all these agronomic activities, you need capital.”
“If you speak to any farmer, one of the critical issues is access to credit. Today you are talking about the issue of fertilizers. Behind the issue of access to fertilizer, is the issue of credit also. If farmers were well resources, though prices have increased to Ghc400 per bag, they will still be in a position to afford,” he said.
He said beyond the issue of access, the terms of repayment of loans taken by farmers must be fair and understanding of the nuances within the agriculture sector.
Earlier, Mr. Wullingdool described Ghana’s agricultural growth and development as undulating. He explained that while there have been some huge success stories over the past few decades, the country has had some very low points in its agricultural journey as well.
Speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Mr. Wullingdool explained that sometime in 1972, under the leadership of General Kutu Acheampong, Ghana did not import any rice. This was because farmers in the country were able to produce enough for local subsistence. The agriculture sector also grew exponentially then.
While successive governments have all contributed to shaping national policy and have added to the total development of agriculture, the total political commitment toward sustained growth of the sector is lacking. This is according to Mr. Wullingdool.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana