Government promises to make tools available to farmers
The government has promised to continue to make available to farmers the requisite tools for their work.
The pledge is in line with the campaign by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to shift from the use of rudimentary tools, which were hampering growth, to the use of appropriate machinery.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Horticulture, Mr George Oduro, made the remark at a validation workshop for stakeholders on the draft Ghana Agricultural Engineering Policy Strategy (GAEPS) in Accra last Thursday.
Mr Oduro, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region, said the government's commitment to ensure that farmers used the right tools was because rudimentary tools made farming a drudgery and unattractive for the youth.
"On other continents such as the Americas, Europe and Asia, the application of technologies in agriculture has revolutionised farming and continues to do so," he said.
He said all partners in agriculture had recognised the increasing need for mechanisation across the agriculture value chain.
"In 2014, through the Malabo Declaration, the African Union (AU) recognised the importance of having machines that were suitable, reliable and affordable when it comes to accelerating agricultural growth in Africa," he added.
Mr Oduro said agricultural mechanisation contributed effectively to efficiency and productivity of all other inputs such as seeds, water, labour and time.
He said MOFA was aware of that and had rolled out several policies and programmes, with the most recent being the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy and the Medium Sector Agricultural Implementation Plan.
He said the ministry had also enabled small holder farmers to have access to various kinds of machinery specially configured for them under the Agricultural Mechanisation Services Enterprise Centres (AMSEC).
A representative of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Mr Benjamin Adjei, said the FAO was happy when the MOFA approached it to get the Ghana Agricultural Engineering Policy Strategy (GAEPS) drafted.
He said the country had over the years initiated various mechanisation programmes with varying successes, adding that there was the need to gain a better grip of all the efforts, hence the policy.
He said if well implemented the GAEPS would improve the agriculture sector and drive the government's flagship programmes.
The Director of the Engineering Services Directorate (AESD) of MOFA, Mr Amatus K.B. Deyang, said in partnership with the FAO, the draft document had been completed and would guide the country on the appropriate forms of engineering technologies for agriculture that were consistent with our farming practices.
He said following several reviews of the policy, the draft report was now ready and was being presented to the participants at the meeting for validation.
Welcoming the participants, the Acting Chief Director of MOFA, Mr Patrick Robert Ankobeah, said having machinery per se would not ensure productivity if there were no guidelines to ensure their coordinated use.
He encouraged the participants therefore to make contributions that would enrich the document.
The GAEPS seeks to contribute to the agriculture sector through in order to on the use of appropriate technology to ensure food security and environmental conservation and sound economic management.