Farmers in Baayiri in the Wa East District have identified poor access to agricultural mechanization services, especially tractor services, as a major threat to their farming activities.
The people of Baayiri, a predominantly farming community, explained that the late access to the services affected their crop yields, which in the long run affected their income status.
Madam Adisah Salifu, a resident of the community, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the situation was taking a great toll on their lives as far as farming was concerned.
“Before you farm, you have to plan very well. You prepare the land and wait for the tractor. But getting a tractor here is very difficult. By the time you get it (tractor), it is already late, you will farm but you can’t get anything from it,” Madam Salifu said.
They noted while they could not farm much with the traditional hoe and cutlass, they could not also access timely tractor services, which was pivotal in their farming activities.
Madam Salifu, therefore, appealed to tractor owners to avail their services to help improve their farming activities.
Mr John Toorisung, the Chief of the Baayiri community, affirming the issue of poor tractor service at the community to the GNA, noted that farmers had prepared their lands for ploughing but there were no tractors at the community to provide the service.
“The one or two tractors that will come here, it serves the rich people first. So we the poor ones will get it last, and by then it will be late,” he said.
Mr Toorisung also said access to farm inputs such as fertilizer and improved seeds under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme was another challenge as farmers had to travel to Wa before they could access them.
He appealed to the Wa East District Assembly to locate a fertilizer distribution centre in the community to ensure easy access to inputs.
The government is implementing the PFJ programme to help improve the agricultural sector of the economy, but access to mechanisation services and uneven distribution of the subsidized imputes, including fertilizer, remained a hurdle to some smallholder farmers, especially at the rural level.