A two-year Smallholder Agricultural Mechanisation Project (SAMP) for rural farmers, aimed at improving nutrition and reducing poverty, has been launched in Wa in the Upper West Region.
The SAMP, being implemented by Trotro Tractor Ltd, a start-up, in collaboration with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Agro Africa, is to distribute tractors to various locations across the region to be accessed by mobile phones.
The initiative, targeted at more than 15,000 farmers, is expected to end the perennial inadequate tractor services in the region.
Trotro Tractor Ltd, which competed in the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) AgriTech Challenge, seeks to assist more rural farmers, especially women, to access tractor services during the one-season farming period in the region, which starts from May to October.
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At a function to inaugurate the initiative, the acting Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, expressed satisfaction that farmers would be relieved of tractor services which had been an age-old challenge in the region.
He expressed the hope that the intervention by Trotro Tractor and its partners would boost the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme to ensure food security and help stem the migration of the youth to the south in search of non-existent jobs.
He reiterated the assurance of the government to offer support for an increase in agricultural production through the fertiliser subsidy programme, improved seeds, revamping warehouses and the re-introduction of the Ghana Buffer Stock Company to ensure ready market for crops produced.
Mr Issahaku also stated that the one-village, one-dam policy would ensure an all-year-round farming in the northern part of the country.
“Indeed, for the one-district, one-factory policy to succeed in the north, it has to hinge on agriculture which is the main source of raw material,” he said.
He commended AGRA and Agro Africa, among others and called on farmer-based organisations, peasant farmers, especially women, to take advantage of the mechanisation services of the company.
The Chief Executive of Agro Africa, Mr Kwabena Opagya Amoateng, called on farmers to take advantage of the mechanisation services to prepare their lands before the farming season started next month.
Mr Amoateng said all farmers needed to do was to dial the toll-free short code, *714*85# to access the tractor services.
He added that the tractors could be hired or purchased outright.