Lack of extension officers threatens Ghana’s agriculture

BY: Felix Baidoo
Mr Godfrey Appiah Acheampong, Sekyere Kumawu District Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Mr Godfrey Appiah Acheampong, Sekyere Kumawu District Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture

A lack of adequate Agricultural Extension Officers across the country has been identified as a major challenge confronting the sustenance of the various pro-poor agricultural initiatives of the Nana Akufo Addo-led government.

The Sekyere Kumawu District Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Godfrey Appiah Acheampong, who dropped the hint said that although the various agricultural interventions were among the best projects to be introduced in the country, the lack of personnel to support the initiatives posed a great danger to their successful implementation.

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Recruitment
He has therefore appealed to the government to consider employing hundreds of graduates from the various agricultural colleges to work as extension officers across the country to assist farmers on the best agricultural practices in line with the various projects which when properly implemented, stood the chance of enhancing food production for both local and foreign markets.

In an interview with Graphic Online at Kumawu, the MoFA Director said although a lot of inputs have been made available as well as the provision of warehouses to store proceeds from the projects, there was the need for the farmers to be assisted with the right kind of information and skills for the proper usage of inputs as well as best farming practices.

Some of the newly introduced initiatives of the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government include planting for food and jobs and planting for export and rural development, all geared towards boosting the local and foreign trade.


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Politicization
He was not happy that often when technocrats give out prudent suggestions, people usually read meanings into them and brand them with political colours which makes it very difficult for professionals to speak about good government initiatives.

This, he said was a major challenge confronting people in public service as it prevents them from sharing their experiences and expertise as well as giving professional advice to promote the development of the nation.
Mr Appiah appealed to the government to consider creating the opportunity for the recruitment of few personnel who could play crucial roles the nation’s development since the ban on recruitment into the public sector could pose a danger to the economy should it last for a very long time.

The District Director said apart from the lack of personnel in the various districts to support the development of agriculture in the country, lack of equipment and other logistics have also affected the smooth operations of most agricultural officers.

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He commended the Sekyere Kumawu Assembly for the current state of investment in the development of agriculture which when continued would make the area the hub for the production of food for the region due to high production of various food crops.