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Farmers must wean themselves off subsidies – Minister

Mr Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Tuesday entreated Ghanaian farmers to gradually wean themselves off subsidies on farming inputs and agro-chemical products.

He cautioned that the government could not continue with the offer of subsidies, which come with greater cost and huge burden on national coffers, saying, “It is time that we become realistic and face the future with an independent mind and attitude”.

Mr Kwetey, who was addressing the fifth National Farmers’ forum, said farmers were equally doing well in the 1990s where there was no government subsidy so he entreated them to take the advice of agric extension officers and apply the right quantity of agro-chemicals to increase yields, which would translate into profit.

The farmers’ forum is designed to promote effective communication and information sharing among stakeholders in the sector. Topical issues on agri-business are discussed at this forum to improve on the knowledge base of farmers.

The Minister explained that farming becomes a lucrative venture when right methodologies and approach are adopted by farmers to increase productivity.

“See yourselves as business men and women with a positive attitude to get to both local and international level,” he said.

This year’s event, sponsored by the ADB Bank, is under the theme: “Eat What You Grow”. It aims at making Ghanaians confident in locally produced foodstuffs and materials as against the foreign dependency syndrome.

Ms Cecilia Ezuah, Director of Finance and Administration, Ministries of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the Ministry had reconstituted the National Premix Committee and was working to reshuffle the landing beaches committees.

She said a letter to this effect, had been distributed to agencies and departments concerned for action to be taken.

Mr. Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, said though Ghana had achieved some food security and the Million Development Goal One, there was still more to be done to sustain productivity in the midst of Climate Change, rain-fed agriculture, as well as post-harvest losses.

He mentioned some interventions introduced by the Agriculture Ministry, saying, “Some of the components are public private partnership arrangements, I’m, therefore, entreating you, our hard working farmers to exploit the numerous opportunities available.”

The farmers expressed worry about the late arrival of agro-chemicals, particularly fertilizers.

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