Smallholder farmers in the Assin South District in the Central Region of Ghana have bemoaned the increasing prices of agro-inputs threatening food security.
The price hikes were a drawback to the Ghana government’s efforts to sustain national food security through the Planting for Food and Jobs and Export.
The farmers expressed these concerns in an interview on the sidelines of the Annual Farmers Forum held at Assin-Homaho in December.
They complained about the recent price hikes in agro-inputs such as agro-chemicals, fertilizers, cutlasses, spraying and irrigation machines.
Cost of agro-inputs more than doubles
The Chairman of the Farmers Forum, Mr Kofi Akwanu, stated prices of major agro-chemicals had witnessed over a hundred per cent increase in less than six months.
Citing examples of agro-chemical price increase, he said the price of Adwumawura has risen from GH¢15.00 to GH¢39.00, Gramoquat from GH¢15.00 to GH¢ 37.00, Kingkon GH¢30.00 to GH¢40.00, Akate Star GH¢40.00 to GH¢ 70.00, and Adama GH¢45.00 to GH¢75.00.
Read also: 20 Agricultural Apps for your agribusiness
But an agro-inputs seller, Mr John Dadzie, blamed the price hikes on high import duties, depreciation of the cedi, transportation cost and high profiteering attitudes of some sellers.
“Many people are only interested in huge profits as against reasonable pricing to cushion farmers. This is preventing many youths from farming,” he said.
Speaking to the media a 51-year-old farmer, Mr Daniel Djan, appealed to the government of Ghana to construct and rehabilitate roads in farming communities to boost economic activities.
“The bad nature of the roads is making life difficult for farmers in such communities to cart their foodstuffs to the market centres to reduce post-harvest losses,” he said.
He said the only reliable means of transportation was motorbikes, popularly known as Okada, however, due to the rains and bad nature of the road, the Okada riders charged exorbitant fees.
“Sometimes for lack of means of transportation, people living in these communities trek long kilometres to get to a healthcare centre,” he added.
Other farmers expressed worry over the poor network services of mobile telecommunication companies in farming communities, saying the benefits of the E-Agriculture, which was launched by the government, would be thwarted if it was not addressed.
The “e-agriculture” system is a platform that enables agricultural experts, farmers and community members to exchange opinions and resources relating to agriculture for mutual gains.
It is hinged on delivering agricultural information and services such as market prices, extension services, technology, policies, programmes and projects using the internet and related technologies.
Some of the farmers believed that erecting some additional telecom masts would lessen the problem as they believed there was pressure on the telcos.
They said reaching the police for assistance would be a challenge if one needed to report criminal activity, and called on the government and network operators to put in measures to resolve the problem.