Compiled by Edmond Gyebi
Yam farmers in the Nanumba South District of the Northern Region of Ghana have called for the government’s intervention to help improve the production of the crop in the area. They are demanding for improved yam seeds, financial, and input support from the government.
About 80% of the population of the Northern Region is engaged in agriculture – mostly producing to feed their families, while some are sold in the local market to cater for other needs at home.
This is probably due to the fact that a considerable amount of the total land area of the region, estimated to be 70,383 square kilometres, is fertile for agricultural purposes.
For instance, in 2010, the region produced 110,430 metric tonnes of maize, rice 62,930, millet 50,290, sorghum 59,370, cassava 83,910 and yam 117,810 (Ghana, MoFA Report).
However, about 13% and 35% of the entire population is food insecure and likely food insecure respectively, according to a World Food Programme report in June 2011. Besides, an estimated 60% of the population live on less than US$1 a day, a clear description of a society plagued by abject poverty and hunger in this 21st Century.
According to the yam farmers, the improvement of yam seeds would enhance production and also address the low incomes and food insecurity in the Northern sector of the country.
This came up at a sensitisation forum organised by the Wulensi Young Farmers’ League Cooperative Association (WYFLCA), with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC), for its members at Wulensi to discuss a research work done by BUSAC.
The consultant of the Project, Alhaji Nashiru Kadri, appealed to Root and Tubers Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to complement the efforts of the farmers through training, to enable them adopt best practices in the food value chain, and also open up market opportunities for their products to reduce food insecurity, poverty, and hunger in the region, and Ghana as a whole.
The research revealed that about 62 per cent of men, and 38 per cent of women, who engage in yam production in the district could not get access to improved yam seeds to produce more for both local and national markets.
Mr. Kadri also called on agricultural experts to devise appropriate measures to check post-harvest losses through proper storage, in order to mop up excess produce from the farmers. He said it was only through that farmers would have guaranteed incomes and have their livelihoods improved.
The BUSAC Consultant also announced that BUSAC would be offering credit facilities to farmers and those engaged in the marketing of crops to build up their capital base, that would enable them expand their production to better their lots. Savannahnews.com