The Minority spokesperson on Agriculture in Parliament, Eric Opoku, has questioned aspects of government’s approach to dealing with the army worm infestation which has ravaged crops mostly in the southern belt of the country.
He believes not enough is being done to compensate the farmers who have incurred losses as a result of the army worms.
“The morale of these farmers is down and the way to bring it up is to motivate them and encourage them. This is an unforeseen situation and they must be bailed out of this challenge,” Mr. Opoku’s pointed out in a Citi News interview.
Mr. Opoku’s comments follow government’s decision to commit GHc16 million to deal with the army worms. Half of this amount is being used for the needed chemicals and the other half is being used for extension purposes.
Despite all these, there should also be an allocation to help farmers recoup their losses, he stated.
“We are missing out on an important aspect… how do we deal with the losses of the affected farmers? They have invested resources. Some went to the banks to borrow and invest these monies in their farming activities.”
Mr. Opoku, also the Asunafo South MP, stressed that “we have to commit part of these resources to compensate for the losses of the affected farmers to serve as a motivation so that next year, these same people will be encouraged to go into farming activities.”
Allocation for education too high
Aside from this, the MP was of the view that, “even the allocation for education is too huge. The GHc 8 million is too huge.”
Mr. Opoku argued that “we have the Agric extension officers on the field every day. Even because of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, we are hiring more of these extension officers… Besides that, we also have the information services system. They have officers in almost every district across the country. Can’t we use them to educate the farmers and minimize the cost of education so we can make some allocation for the compensation of farmers.”