The President of the National Cashew Farmers Association of Ghana, Mr. Anthony Aidoo, has encouraged farmers across the country to work with extension officers or agricultural related intellectuals to enhance their education on their farming activities to know how to go about the farming business to increase their yield and fetch them more income.
He attributed some of the challenges farmers faced to their ignorance in refusing to work with extension officers in their respective areas.
He described the extension officers as “trained technical men with much knowledge in farming” to teach farmers agronomy among others farm practices which are essential to agriculture.
Speaking in an interview with Captain Adabuga, the host of the Rite FM morning show to educate his colleague farmers on the need or importance of working with extension officers as a farmer, the 2004 National Best Cashew farmer attributed his award to the knowledge he earned working with his extension agents.
“Before winning the award in 2004 as the National Best Cashew Farmer, I was working closely with the extension officers in my area who used to educate me on the best farming practices, fertilizer application, pruning, agronomy, farm maintenance, record keeping among others and this has help me a lot in my cashew farming business,” he revealed.
“there is no way you can ever win an award without working with them since that also formed part of the selection process,” he stressed.
When asked about his expectations towards this year’s Farmers Day, the two –time national best cashew farmer expressed optimism at the “commitment” of the current government to address the challenges confronting the agric sector.
“I have realized that this government is really committed to the development of agriculture and they are going to award farmers with equipment to assist them on the field to deliver to our expectations,” he said.
Mr. Aidoo also described cashew farming as a lucrative and money-making business which does not bring poverty to farmers.
According to research conducted by the Peasant Farmers and SEND- Ghana, the dream towards full domestic food security dream will remain a mirage, if attention is not given to the drivers of this change who are the Agricultural Extension Services.
Unfortunately, due to poor extension services, the aim of modernizing the sector to propel growth has not been achieved.
Available statistics from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture shows that the national farmer-extension ratio stands at 1 Agricultural Extension Agent (AEA) to 1,500 farmers (1:1500) (MoFA). However, research conducted by the organizations shows that; there is 1 AEA to 3000 farmers (1:3000).
The consequences of working without extension services includes delivery to smallholder farmers, bringing in its trail characteristic poor agronomic practices; post-harvest management challenges; inefficient use of inputs; abuse of pesticides; low adaptive capacity for research and technology uptake; and inadequate access to auxiliary information that could help increase agricultural productivity in Ghana
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