Bolgatanga – Stakeholders at the 2016 Budget for the Agricultural Sector Forum, at Bolgatanga, have urged the Government to construct more dugouts in the three Regions of the North to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
They said the regions were the most affected by climate change, which was having negative consequences on food production as the annual rainy season was very short.
The forum, jointly organised by SEND-Ghana and the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) , attracted peasant farmers, representatives of Civil Society Organisations, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Farmer-Based-Organisations, drawn from the Northern regions.
According to the participants, having more dugouts with the de-silting of more dams in the area would help them to harvest rainwater to be stored for dry season farming and as drinking water for animals.
Whilst lauding the efforts of the Government for introducing the fertiliser and seed subsidy in the Budget, the Stakeholders expressed disappointment about the absence of support for climate-resilient agriculture, investment in warehousing and irrigation, particularly, dugouts, which they said, were the most important elements towards the empowerment of small holder farmers.
The President of the PFAG, Mr Abdul –Rahamani Mohammed, said sheanut and the cotton, which were the main cash crops in the Northern regions, had the potential of contributing to the alleviation of poverty and asked the government and other stakeholders to invest more investments in them.
Mr Mohammed expressed worry about the activities of some herdsmen who guided their animals into farms to feed and destroy them in the process and gave the assurance that his outfit was doing everything possible with the government and other stakeholders to curb the problem.
Mr Charles Nyaaba, the Programme Officer of PFAG, blamed successive governments for refusing to recruit Agricultural extension officers, saying the lack of extension services was having negative consequences on food production.
The Programme Officer of SEND- Ghana, Nana Aisha Mohammed, urged the Government to focus more on the food crop sector instead of the Cocoa sector.
The forum, which was sponsored by Trust Africa, was aimed at presenting the findings of the analysis of the 2016 Agriculture Sector Budget, its prospects, challenges and opportunities for small-holder farmers.