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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Group tasks President Mahama to prioritize interest of rural farmers

Agro Mindset Organization, an agricultural-focused NGO, has called on President John Mahama to roll out enthusiastic policies targeting poor, rural farmers to catapult the nation’s food security agenda into a higher gear.

According to the Organization, there is the need to actualize age-old promises of providing credit facilities to the small scale farmers, making available improved and subsidized seeds and inputs, construction of irrigational facilities, expanding agricultural extension services, and training in entrepreneurship and literacy.

While commending the government for helping improve the agricultural sector over the last four years through the Youth in Agriculture Programme and other policies, the group noted that the leaps recorded in the performance of the agricultural sector would not be meaningful if smallholder farmers are not targeted with similarly enthusiastic policies.

Mr. President, as you take the reins of governance for the next four years, we would encourage you to refocus attention on implementing targeted policies that would help these poor, rural based farmers improve upon production, expand their farm sizes and get higher up the economic ladder which will restore hope to the upcoming generation”, wrote David Asare Asiamah, the Executive Director of Agro Mindset Organisation, in an open letter to the newly sworn-in President.
 
“The rural poor farmers are the people who deserve the support even more, because they have shown that they are fully committed to the art and science of growing food, and they would be able to make even more meaningful impact if given adequate support,” the letter said.

The NGO also noted there is the need for government to roll out more of policies to motivate more young people to go into agriculture to sustain the sector and, at the same time solve the problem of youth unemployment.

Prioritizing agricultural development, with some focus on the poor farmers would yield significant, interconnected benefits, particularly in achieving food security and reducing hunger; increasing incomes and reducing poverty; advancing the human development agenda in health and education; and reversing environmental damage”, noted Obed Opoku, President of KNUST Chapter of Agro Mindset Organisation.
 
The NGO urged the President to ensure that those he appoints to the helm of affairs at the Agric Ministry are persons with practical backgrounds in the agricultural sector, and have a fair understanding of agricultural production in Ghana.

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