Chief Director for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Robert P. Ankobiah has disclosed to Rite News that the Directorate will soon employ about 2,700 Extension Officers to boost the discharge of extension services in the country.
Mr. Ankobiah was speaking to Rite news’ Joyce Bedeley on the sidelines of the Open Technology Session for Farmers and Actors in the Agric Value Chain in Koforidua in response to the dire shortage of extension officers across all districts in the country.
The recruitment follows the “financial clearance given by government” for the recruitment of 2,700 extension officers to help address the poor farmer- extension officer ratio in the country.
Mr. Ankobiah who expects the move to serve as a resolution to the limited extension officer situation confronting farmers was hopeful that this will further facilitate Ghana’s discharge from certain International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions.
Besides, there will be more flexibility and Ghana’s Agriculture sector will see tremendous progress, he noted.
The lack of extension officers is a common challenge in several districts of the country.
Farmers in the country have severally complained about the lack of extension officers in their respective farming communities. Where the officers are found, their operations cover a few number of farmers leaving a large number of farmers unattended to.
Eastern regional Director of the Extension Services Papa Allotey in a recent interview with Rite news raised similar concerns that government was making no attempts to recruit graduates from the Agric Colleges to replace existing staff, despite persistent requests from the department.
Papa Allotey said the situation was making it very difficult for the department to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandatory duties as it is handicapped in reaching out to all of its operational areas.
He attributed the problem to the aging population of the few extension officers available, as government is failing to employ new and younger officers to close the deficit.
He said three extension officers in charge of about sixteen operational areas in the Eastern region for instance is woefully inadequate, a situation he regretted adversely affected extension services in the region.
It is estimated that there are about 5,000 extension officers who have graduated from the five Colleges of Agriculture but are unemployed because of pressure on the public sector payroll.