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Farmers Demand Clear Ag Policies

by 5m Editor
16 October 2008, at 7:46a.m.

GHANA - At a workshop this week, industry representatives urged politicians to develop clear strategies to help the country achieve the Millennium Development Goal to end poverty in the country.

Poultry farmers in the country are demanding clear-cut policies from the government and other political leaders that would strengthen the country’s agricultural sector in order to maximize yields, whilst protecting local farmers, reports Ghanaian Chronicle.

According to the farmers, even though past and present governments have tried to improve the agriculture sector in the country, very little have been realized from the sector.

Speaking at a two-day stakeholders' workshop organized by the Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association (GNPFA) in Accra on 14 October, the chairman of GNPFA, Kenneth Quartey reiterated the need for clear-cut policies from government that would improve the development of the agriculture sector, placing special emphasis on food policy.

He said political leaders in their quest for political power use every opportunity on platforms to outline the importance of agriculture to the country's economy but very little have been done to improve the sector when they attain political power.

"These repeated statements have had the tendency to lull many of us, particularly practitioners who have chosen agriculture as a livelihood and career, into a false sense of comfort that these words would be followed by prompt and sustained actions. The reality is quite the opposite," he told participants at the workshop.

The two-day workshop was organized for players in the industry to develop strategies that would put the agriculture sector on steady growth that would contribute to the elimination of poverty in the country, towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

It also seeks to build consensus among players in the industry on how agriculture in the country could take opportunities to address the current food crisis the developing countries are facing.

Key areas for discussion at the workshop include; food production and poverty alleviation, investment in food production, food security, impact of trade policy on food production and market access and the distribution of locally produced food.

Credit to the sector has dropped from 25 per cent in 1998 to 7 per cent in 2007 - a situation which, according to Hannah Antwi from the Third World Network, demanded critical attention to save the sector from collapse.

She gave a number of factors that have contributed to the decline of food production in the country, stressing the insufficient budget allocation as the number one contributory factor.

According to her, most of the banks in the country have shifted to commercialized banking, a situation she said was making it difficult for farmers to access loans from the banks because of the high interest rate charged, reports Ghanaian Chronicle.

5m Editor