At an Advocacy group discussion in Tamale on Thursday, agricultural extension officers, seed producers, and processors in the Northern region called on the government to come to their aid. They re-emphasized the importance of agriculture as the bedrock of the country’s economic growth, yet it has not been given the desired attention.
The group seeks to improve farming systems in the country, especially in the northern sector. It also wants to draw the attention of policy makers to the challenges confronting farmers in the agricultural sector.
During the discussion, the group reiterated the need for the government to supply farmers, especially small holder farmers with farm machines such as tractors to enable them plant on time. Government, they said, should also support seed producers to be able to provide quality seeds needed by farmers in the region.
The group raised the issue of farmers paying 50 percent as down payment before they are given inputs under government flagship project- 1D1F – and called for it to be scraped since all farmers cannot afford. They also want government to include livestock production in the 1D1F project to enable women who do not have access to land and the disabled to benefit from the project.
An Agricultural Extension Officer, who spoke to Zaa News on condition of anonymity, expressed worry over the level of practicality students from various agricultural institutions come out with.
According to him, most students who graduate from these institutions are only taught theories written by foreigners with no practical knowledge attached, which makes life difficult for them after school.
Citing himself as an example, the Agricultural Extension Officer said he graduated from the university without knowing the practical aspect of what he studied and had to follow agricultural extension agents to the field to be able to practice. He therefore called on institutional tutors to be more practical. Government, he said, should also assist the agricultural institutions in the country to enable them to function well.
BY: LILIAN D. WALTER