AMA reveals gov’t interventions

…to help stabilise price and crop levels

By Naa Betty Mingle & Erica Kwapong

Pix: Mr. Jonathan Commey and staff of the AMA looking at the exhibition of farm products(left), Madam Gloria Odarkor Lamptey (Overall Best Farmer-A.M.A) and Mr. Enoch Mensah (2009 Best Farmer)right

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has revealed that another intervention from the government, to help stabilise price and crop levels, was the formation of a Buffer Stock Company, which will mop up additional produce in the system.

This was said by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Odododiodoo constituency, Mr. Jonathan Tackie Commey, in a speech read on the Accra Mayor’s behalf at the 26th Farmers’ Day celebration, held by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the AMA.

According to him, this would be released onto the markets during the lean season, so as to stabilise prices, while the company is also expected to make available, commodities in its care for use during disaster and other eventuality.

He noted that the agricultural sector plays an important role in the economy, for the reason that it employs between 50% and 60% of the nation’s labour force.

He further said its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about 37%, and also a major contributor to the foreign exchange earnings of the country.
He noted that the theme for the celebration, “Grow more Food,” was in line with the Government’s policy of ensuring that food is made available at all times at affordable and cheaper prices for all in the country.

He disclosed that the government’s role in this was to create the enabling environment, through policies and regulatory frame works that would ensure that the noble objective of growing more food was achieved.

The MP further mentioned that a number of interventions had been introduced by the government aimed at growing more food, which included the establishment of Block Farms throughout the country.

He said the block farms would provide tractor services, improved seeds and other inputs to farmers who are engaged in the block farms, adding that these incentives were to guarantee minimum prices to farmers, so that they would be able to sell their produce at prices that will make them make profits.

He said: “The government has also provided tractors for purchase and use by individuals and organisations in the country. It is the belief of government that when the tractors are purchased, they will provide tractor services to farmers who need them.”
In addition, he revealed that the government had facilitated the establishment of Agricultural Mechanization Services Enterprises (AMSECs) throughout the country, so that they can provide tractor services to beneficiaries.

On the other hand, Madam Gloria Odarkor Lamptey, who took the Overall Best Farmer of the year, was presented a certificate and other prizes such as the a queen-sized bed, and a set of living room furniture.

Mr. Jonathan Tackie Commey further pointed out that the Livestock Development Project had also supplied 800 sheep to 80 farmers in the Metropolis, saying that each beneficiary was given 10 sheep, and after the two years, the 10 sheep would be taken from them and given to other beneficiaries.

He said this was aimed at reducing poverty and providing additional income to livestock farmers, as well as provide services such as disease surveillance, immunisations and treatment of animals were also carried out during the year.

He said that on the fisheries front, the registrations of boats and canoes had been carried out on a pilot basis at the Chokor and James Town landing sites, saying, “As at now, 100 boats and canoes have been registered. The Fisheries Law has been passed, and the legislative instruments have been gazetted,” he added.

He said clean water for irrigation purposes was another challenge, while the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the AMA were working with the Accra Working Group for Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture (AWGUPA) to address the issue through the Accra City Strategic Plan.

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