Farmers in the Garu-Tempane District have called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to release the 2013 quota and subsidy programme on fertilizer to enable them acquire it in good time for farming this year.
“Going by the Ghana Meteorological Services (GMET) information on the onset of rainfall this year, which says the rains would start late April, sowing of crops could begin in May and go on into June”.
Alhaji Azure Imoru, a farmer who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said most of the time, fertilizer subsidies were given late in June and made it rather too late for farmers to use the product properly to boost production.
Speaking on safety of the food local farmers produce, Alhaji Imoru, who is also the Chairman of Garu-Tempane Agro-Input Dealers Association, expressed concern that pesticides and herbicides were being misused due to ignorance on the part of farmers and further appealed to MOFA to send out more Agriculture officers to educate them on the proper use of the chemicals so that they could benefit from it without harmful side effects.
The farmers were at a Participatory Scenario Planning Programme organized by the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) of CARE International, to enable them learn about weather forecasts from the GMET and together with their indigenous forecasts plans, arrive at when and what to sow so as to make good use of the rains and also avoid dry spells this farming season.
They also developed advisories based on the anticipated weather scenario for more resilient livelihood and risk management in their communities.
The farmers identified some important livelihood activities in their communities that include crop farming, dry season farming, poultry, livestock rearing, water and sanitation, health facilities, educational infrastructure and roads and deliberated on how they could be affected during the rainy season and what they could do to meet those challenges.
Ms Hasnau Apam-Nuhu, Agriculture Officer at Pusiga, reading the advisory report from her group of farmers, said the farmer’s representatives would educate their colleagues to start preparing the water bodies such as dug-outs, wells and dams by scooping out the silt so as to create more space for water during the rainy season as the Pusiga and Garu-Districts were well known for irrigation farming during the dry season.
The farmers would also relay to other farmers, the sowing time they had arrived at considering the weather forecasts and the different varieties of crops to use so as to avoid the dry spell in May, she added.
The Adaptation Learning Programme has for the past three years been working in the Garu-Tempane and East Manprusi districts to strengthen the capacity and empower the people to adapt to the impacts of climate change. It also creates awareness of risks factors and its management as well as reducing impact of potential disaster. GNA