The agriculture sector plays an important role in Ghana as it is the backbone of the economy and one of the major foreign exchange earners.
Thus, the sector contributes and remains the main driver of poverty reduction as it stands enabler for more income generation and ensures food security for a large part of the population. So after Ghana’s 2017 Budget had been read, Schandorf Adu-Bright had an interview with Luv FM and Focus FM, both in Kumasi, and writes this article looking at the focus areas of the budget in terms of farmers, rural employment and infrastructure development.
The new government must avoid this. The “One District, One Factory” initiative if done right and on time will help to reduce the effect of this challenge.
The free fertiliser project has huge challenges with distribution and smallholder farmers’ access. From Farmerline’s interactions on the field, the following are the issues:
So the point, what mechanisms is the government adopting to ensure adequate accessibility of these inputs by the smallholders.
To solve these issues, the government will need innovation technologies like Farmerline’s Mergdata to facilitate verification. Again, National Identification will also be helpful in the verification process of these deliveries.
Now the question is, how much goes into extension service delivery at the district levels and the running of the various MoFA directorates? These offices are mostly under resources and extension officers lack funds for fuel and transport to do their works.
One key thing here is, the 93% budget allocation for Fertilizer Subsidy Programme exclusively targets the cocoa sector. So what happens to other commodities like rice, maize, sorghum, cassava and etc. All of them to share the remaining 7%, this is woefully inadequate. Why is cocoa sector given that priority, cocoa has reliable and profitable market access?
So, I think, the government should also give deserving attention to the non-cocoa sectors in the agriculture space.
Lastly, it will also be great for the government to make a commitment to advancing rural finance and credit access by smallholder farmers.
As Farmerline’s Director of Farmer Services, Schandorf manages a team of eight and he is responsible for leading training workshops for farmers, conducting user research, collecting data, advocating Farmerline’s initiatives, and monitoring and evaluating their impact. On behalf of Farmerline, Schandorf has trained more than 5,000 small-scale farmers to adopt and benefit from Farmerline’s voice messaging technology. Schandorf has rich experiences in rural financing.