Mr. Joseph Kwaku Nkansah, a water melon farmer in Sege, a suburb of Ada in the Greater Accra Region has expressed his grievances on Rite FM’s ‘Akuafo Se Sen’ Segment. Some challenges he faces in farming include the lack of rain, lack of affordable credit and poor access to government policies. The benefits of rain fed agriculture end when there is no rain. It becomes frustrating to farmers who require it in trivial stages of the crops’ life. He resorts to buying water to irrigate his farm to the tune of GHS 100 per acre, every three days, on his 3.5 acre farm.
He admitted in Ada Sege, there is no association for water melon farmers. ‘Water melon farming is costly and difficult to do’ Mr. Joseph said. ‘It requires constant chemical application to combat pests and in our case, extension officers do not frequent the place’. It is surprising to note that this farmer does not know about the government’s flagship policy ‘Planting for Food & Jobs’. This means though successful, the policy still has a lot to offer to this farmer and his colleague farmers who do not know what it is about, talk of benefiting from it.
He revealed his source of funding is ‘Hunger Project’. The loans can only be accessed in groups and up to nine months. About GHS 30 is charged on every GHS 100 loan disbursement. ‘Some banks take their money back after three months so this is good for us’ he says.
A whopping 30% interest rate is charged on these loans. Access to agriculture finance and agricultural credit has been made more accessible with the introduction of a rejuvenated MASLOC and the promised GIRSAL system.
Mr. Joseph and the water melon farmers in Ada Sege revealed the need for a more aggressive strategy to inform and educate the farmers about government interventions that seek to minimize the costs of farming and increase productivity. Government policies and interventions like the Planting for Food and Jobs, Fertilizer Subsidies and the MASLOC need to be made readily available and accessible to these farmers who actually need them for their farming activities. Mr. Kwaku was admonished to mobilize the farmers in Ada Sege to form an association that can easily appeal for assistance