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Farmer groups in the Upper East Region appeal for credit for fertilizers

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Introduced by the government, a major agricultural program dubbed Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) on April 19, 2017, aimed at making Ghana self-sufficient in food production while creating jobs.

However, for the past year, PFJ support has been absent, coupled with the high prices of fertilizer in recent times, making farmers lament bitterly over the cost of production, while others are threatening to stay away.

In an interview with A1 Radio, David Azure, the farmers said production has significantly declined by individual farmers due to the lack of support for them to produce more.

According to the farmer groups who spoke to A1 News, to help them do more in the sector, create jobs, and help sustain food security in the region and the country at large, the government, NGOs, banks, and individual farm input dealers should kindly come to their aid with farm inputs, especially fertilizer on credit, for them to continue their farming.

Madam Abigail Atanga, Chairperson of the ‘POGSI GII KUA’ farmers group from the Yekine community in the Bolgatanga municipality, said, “All the youth, men, and women in this community love farming so much, but the money is not there to support ourselves. You see all these lands; if we get support either as money or a loan or if any fertilizer supplier comes and says, ‘I will give you fertilizer so that after harvesting, you pay back,’ you see the kind of cultivation that will take place here.”

Speaking to Asongtaaba Farmers at the Gowrie community in the Bongo district of the Upper East Region, the leader of the association, Mrs. Ayindoo Veronica, said, “Most of the crops now and the nature of the land demand high-quality fertilizer for you to get good yields. But now, you cannot buy fertilizer because prices are very high. Some of my members used to get the Planting for Food and Jobs fertilizers, but this year they did not get it, making farming difficult for all of us,” she stated.

The Chairman of the Greener Farmers association based in the Palwugu community in the Talensi district, Williamson, said, “Here, both the rainy and dry seasons, we are always busy with farming activities, and the only help we need from the government, individuals, and NGOs who have an interest in the agriculture sector is for them to come to our aid. I think if they can provide us with fertilizer and tractor services, it will go a long way to help us, and we can pay later.”

On their part, the secretary of Koa’nsoa farmers association based in the Sumbrungu community in the Bolgatanga municipality, Ayine Daniel, said, “Our problem is the fertilizer price. If we get organizations that can be supporting us as a group with fertilizer, we will do a lot of farming activities in this area. I can confirm to you that many of my colleagues I started doing this farming with have stopped, saying that it is very expensive. And now, they have started doing different things. Meanwhile, we need food to be abundant in the region and in the country,” he bemoans.

All these long-existing farmer groups badly need financial support to expand their farms, which will largely provide people with employment and access to food.

But why do farmers find it difficult to access loans in the banks? Rev. John Akaribo, a member of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, said that apart from the long process in securing bank loans and high-interest rates, the banks are unwilling to even give loans to farmers.

According to Rev. Akaribo, some banks see it as necessary to give loans to all other professionals and other working classes except farmers because the banks do not see farming as a business that can pay back their loans.

Source:A1Radioonline.Com|101.1MHZ|David Azure|Bolgatanga|

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