President for Africa Smallholder Farmers Association (ASFA), Mr. Evans Larbi says Ghana can’t fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals if we downplay and neglect the activities of Smallholder farmers in the country. “We have paid lip services to the development of agriculture, our engine for growth and we are expecting different results doing the same thing over and over” he said. He says Ghana is challenged with high rates of unemployment, especially among the youth and as emerging young “agripreneurs” in Ghana and Africa who are investing skills, energy and time in farming and other agro-oriented ventures. He posited there is an urgent need to come together.
He underscored the need for effective and efficient skills, training, and capacity building for smallholder farmers to not only increase food production but also create jobs for the unemployed youth. Speaking to Reuben Quainoo, Mr. Larbi said most farming communities do not have any platform for marketers to locate them for a number of reasons which include remoteness of farms, low production, low farm produce prices and lack of information. “The time is now for us to unite our forces and shape the way into a glorious future for all smallholder farmers. The need has come to rally along with policy makers, implementers and stakeholders to chart the course in improving the agricultural sector massively” he added.
He said government and stakeholders must be made to understand that, the activities of smallholder farmers in Ghana is also paramount to the general wellbeing of our economic growth, thus any neglect or inaction is grievous. The farmer revealed that the last population census estimated the country’s population at 30 million and growing at 2.8% per annum and will possibly double by 2030. According to him this puts enormous pressure on the agricultural sector to grow at levels sufficient to feed the growing population. Given the declining land holding sizes, the only plausible way to improve agricultural productivity is to enhance efficiency of small holder farmers.
He urged farmers to accept improved technologies as a key tool to help deal with agricultural challenges in the country. He said it is important policy makers, implementers, businessmen along the agricultural value chain, research institutions and others co-operate meaningfully for us to succeed in the quest of eradicating hunger, poverty, and unemployment.
“As we celebrate farmer’s day today, I would want to say ayekooo to all farmers; we thank you for your tireless effort in helping feed us. For this, we will forever owe you our gratitude. God bless all farmers, God bless our homeland Ghana” he added.
By: Reuben Quainoo