The CEO of the Farm Management Services Limited, FMSL Multimedia is lamenting about what he says is the indecent neglect with which State actors turn a blind eye to the development of the agric sector, most touted as the ‘backbone of the Ghanaian economy.’
Mr. Jonie Addo-Fening insists that the attempts by State actors to disregard the relevant role played by farmers in the revered sector may invariably end the sector up gravely disadvantaged.
The CEO of the FMSL Multimedia, an obviously unhappy man regrets that several pertinent questions bordering on the country’s approach to agricultural development still remained unanswered, perhaps despite the cliché that that the sector remains the backbone of Ghana’s economy.
The CEO’s sentiments came to light at the 3rd Rite FM Agric Forum held at the Ensign College of Public Health at Kpong in the Eastern under the theme; ‘The Role of Technology in Improving Agricultural Productivity and Livelihoods.’
Rite FM on Friday held its 3rd edition of the Rite FM Agric Forum, RAF 2018. The forum, as part of its focus, provided a conducive platform for relevant inputs for the development of agriculture in the municipality.
The event brought together hundreds of participants from across the agriculture value chain in the Eastern region and beyond who witnessed mind boggling presentations in the areas of genetically modified organisms, the use of technology in aquaculture development, Practical Ways to Develop Irrigation at the District Level, Barriers to the use of Mobile Phones and Apps and how it affects Productivity in the Agricultural Value Chain, Pollution and Depletion of Fish Stock in the Volta River, etc.
Mr. Fening, a steadfast advocate of agricultural development and farmer welfare lamented about challenges with farmer financing, access to ready markets, land and research, the continuous use of obsolete farming practices, etc. which were largely unavailable to today’s farmer.
“Is this country really serious about agriculture,” he queried. “Why are our farmers still wallowing in poverty? Why it that our farmers still can’t get access to financing, land, etc. why can’t our farmers get access to research, technology, markets and so on? Why are our farmers still using old methods to farm when there are modern methods, research and technology to help improve how we farm and practice agriculture… so what really is our problem.”
The accomplished farmer who thought government spoke most about the agric sector however wondered why the needed financial capital required for its advancement was not forthcoming.
“The gov’t talks more about agriculture than any other activity so why aren’t we spending more money and investments in Agriculture? Why aren’t we producing more?” he wondered.
Mr. Addo-Fening also regretted what he believes is insufficient financial commitments to local agricultural activities for a sector that remains a significant contributor to the internally generated funds, IGFs of the local assemblies, despite the agrarian nature of local districts.
Lack of database
An upset Chief Executive Officer was also not bemused about the lack of database on farming activities and farmers. Mr. Addo-Fening who believed that data was important for proper planning however wondered why such information was not readily available for access.
“You ask yourself, why is it so difficult to get access to data or information on any agriculture activity in this country. As a country or district, do we really know the number of farmers we have? There is no data to even help you plan properly, make decisions or make any projections,” he observed adding that he desisted from providing statistics in his speech because he had none.
To him, agriculture these days was a huge gamble where there were really no guarantees, especially for the youth. “Is it any surprise why our youth are shying away from agriculture? If this country is going to attract the youth to get into agriculture then Agriculture must be modernized, made attractive and worthwhile,” he said.
The CEO took the opportunity to express his profound gratitude to the sponsors of the forum and stakeholders whose contribution’s led to its success.