By: Yaw Asamoah
Farming is an ancient profession. In the olden days, farming was the major work of the people on this planet. The success of a person was measured base on the number of farm land, farm animals and labors. But today, especially in Africa, farmers are seen as the poorest in terms of finances.
Farmers spend a lot to produce and get few in return .Farmers who cultivate maize, rice, tomatoes, onion and those who rare animals like cattle and farm birds such as chicken and turkey always spend a lot to produce these crops and rear the animals and after harvesting, buyers even becomes a problem for them. Today, I would like to talk about two major problems the Ghanaian farmer is facing and the reason why government should consider putting a ban on importation of some produce like cow meat, chicken, turkey, tomatoes, rice etc.
When the president announced the mandatory lockdown of the hotspot of the corona virus, Kumasi and Accra, everyone in these areas were all rushing to the market to purchase some food stuffs instead of purchasing things like television, watches, mobile phones etc., this tells us how important agric and farmers are to the nation and why government must do everything possible to boost its growth.
Occasionally, you hear people saying the local farmers cannot produce enough to feed themselves and the nation. But is that really the truth? After talking to some farmers in Ashanti Region and Eastern Region, the problems gathered from the conversation with them are plenty but we will talk about only two today and tackle the rest in my next write up.
First of all, they mentioned financial problems. The farmers are lacking financial support from government and other public and private cooperate institutions. A farmer would need a loan to carry out his farming activities, due to this, he will walk into the banking hall of Agricultural Development Bank and the loan will not be given to him due to some one or two paper works. If government could support the small-scale farmers with some funds, they could produce more to feed themselves and the nation at large.
Also, they are not able to produce enough to feed the nation because they cannot employ enough hands on the farm to help with the farming activities. Because they lack the financial support, majority of the farmers cannot buy enough seeds and fertilizers to produce enough to feed the nation, but with support from the government such farmers can buy enough seeds and produce enough foodstuffs and meat to feed the nation, store and even export some to other countries.
Secondly, another problem of the farmers is market for their produce. After harvesting, the farmer will struggle for long before getting a buyer for his produce, even after getting the buyer, the price the buyer wants to pay for the produce is so disheartening and because the farmer has no better option, he will accept it with the reason of trying to survive. Let us ask ourselves this question, why is everyone doing cocoa? This is because there is a ready market available after harvest.
The importation of some farm produce like rice and farm animals like cow meat, chicken and turkey have made farmers reduce the quantity they produce knowing very well that when he, the farmer, cultivates about 500bags of rice, he will send them to the market for only 100bags to be sold and bought by consumers, meanwhile the farmer has invested more than what he is getting for the 100bags to produce the 500bags of rice. With the remaining 400bags of rice not sold, it means the farmer will be cash trapped since he might not get money to do other things unless the 400bags are sold. This makes the living conditions of farmers so poor.
Have you asked yourself this question, why haven’t there been shortage of eggs before? Meanwhile people keep saying the local farmers cannot produce enough to feed the country but these are the same farmers who rare the birds that lay the eggs.so if these farmers can rare birds to lay enough eggs to feed the nation, why can’t they produce enough chicken to feed the nation with a little support from the government. When the importation of chicken, turkey and cow meat is banned, the local farmers will increase their quantity knowing very well that all that they produce will be bought on the market and the demand might even go high, this will also enable them to employ extra helping hands on the farm.
Also, the rice farmer knowing very well that there is no rice coming from Asia and Europe, he will produce enough since all his produce will not face competition from cic rice, basmati rice and the likes and all what he produces will be bought on the market since the demand is high. I believe when the producers of Royal Farmers Rice from the northern part of the country receives support from the government, when all the rice farmers and the farmers that rare animals get support from the government, they will be able to produce enough to feed the nation and also store some And even export some to other countries and employ a lot of people to help with the farming activities.
In this COVID-19 period, export and import have been halt, yet we are still surviving. When you go to the market now, people are not buying rice according to brands but availability of it. People are purchasing CIC RICE, BASMATI RICE, ABENA RICE and ROYAL RICE from Royal farmers from the northern region. So, I strongly believe that when food stuffs like rice and cow meat, chicken and turkey are banned, the country can still survive, our economy will be stable since we will not have to spend some dollars on importation of such produce. The unemployment rate will reduce since the farmers can employ a lot of people to help with the farming activities. I therefore call on the government to ban these food stuffs and support the local farmers to produce more for the nation.
In the next write up, we will talk about other problems with the Ghanaian farmers.
UNIV COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMEMNTAL STUDIES(UCAES)