June 24, 2024
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NETCAP calls for government’s partnership with commercial farmers to avert crisis in Ghana

The Network of Commercial Agriculture Production (NETCAP) has called on government to partner commercial farmers in order to avert a possible food security crisis in the country.   

“Our call is for government to do more in the immediate term to support farmers to produce more to secure our country from heading into food security challenges” the group stated at a press briefing in Tamale on Wednesday November 9, 2022.  

Mr Toatoba Joshua, secretary of NETCAP at the news briefing told journalists that “our vision is to make Ghana a grain food basket cannot be realized if the government does not join hands with us to resolve some of the challenges that impede our operations and growth”. 

He cited the recent World Bank report that revealed Ghana recorded the highest food price increase of about 122% in 2022 to buttress the need for government collaboration with NETCAP and other farmers. 

“This is a direct result of the global price hikes in agricultural inputs and petroleum products, which combined to increase the cost of production in Ghana. Even though some pragmatic, farmer-centered policies that have been initiated and implemented by the government, these were not sufficient to tame the tide of price increases. We are concerned that if the challenges are not addressed immediately, our production capacities will be further constrained next year, and that can derail all the gains we have made in recent years” he warned.

He therethere wants government to fix the challenges that are limiting the production capacities of farmers which include; access to and high cost of fertilizers and other inputs such as high-yielding certified seeds and other chemicals low market prices of some agricultural products, notable soybeans as a result of the implementation of export restrictions of soybeans.

He said high cost of credit and a lack of support from financial institutions to lend to the agriculture sector, especially seasonal grain farming and high cost of machinery to enable the modernization and mechanization of agriculture are some of the critical challenges government must address immediately.

“Though we acknowledge the existence and implementation of some agricultural production enhancement interventions in the past, it is worth noting that most of these initiatives have not yielded the full results. Our observation is that most of the interventions were developed with little or no involvement of key agricultural value chain stakeholders such as farmers, input dealers, aggregators, financial institutions, and processors. The implementation of these interventions has also been done without proper coordination of all the sub-sectors in agriculture, and other allied and adjacent sectors of the economy” he noted. 

He said “We are aware that government is in discussion with stakeholders to find solutions to our present economic challenges, including the challenges in the agriculture sector. While a number of stakeholders will proffer various solutions to the government, we wish to caution the government to be wary of solutions that may set back the achievements we have made in the agriculture sector over the past several years. For instance, this year, some stakeholders advocated for the ban on the export of soybeans to make the crop available for local industries. Instead of a ban, the government implemented export restrictions on the soybean crop. The implementation of the temporary ban on soybean distorted the soybean market, making prices slump below the break-even level. Given the rising cost of inputs globally (in Ghana, fertilizer prices went up by more than 142%), farmers would have been discouraged from investing in the cultivation of soybeans but for the lifting of that temporary ban in quarter two of this year”. 

About NETCAP

NETCAP is a group of about 200 large-scale commercial farmers who together cultivate more than 20,000 hectares (or 50,000 acres) of land producing maize, rice, and soybeans. In the 2021 cropping year, the group collectively produced more than 80,000 metric tons of grain, most of which went to industrial firms in Ghana. The network comprises 200 farmers work with over 5,000 smallholder farmers in the five northern regions of Ghana. Together with our smallholder outgrowers, they produce more than 100,000 metric tons of grains annually. Our vision is to revolutionize agriculture in the savannah ecological zone and make Ghana the grain food basket in West Africa.  

Story by Ibrahim Angaangmeni Alhassan/radiotamaleonline.com

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