A Senior Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Dr Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, has underscored the need to make delivery of farm service support a priority to farmers in rural areas.
He said despite the contemporary role farm services such as quality grading and standardisation training, equipment repairs and design and packaging, research and development and analyses services played, limited attention has been paid to it in most agricultural programmes and projects in the country.
The situation, he said has led to low production levels, heavy importation of food and lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the country.
“Leveraging technological practices for development, requires an urgent sense of making delivery of farm services efficient and a priority,” Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw said at the stakeholder engagement at the Research Output
Dissemination Workshop on Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING).
It was on the theme, “Effective partnership for effective uptake of Sustainable Intensification technologies, innovations, and practices: role of framers and other private and public sector stakeholders”.
He said technology adoption was critical in achieving sustained productivity, improved food and nutrition security as well as raising the incomes of farmers.
The Scientist said the provision and access to farm services as were either absent or limited in the country and this had been attributed to the poor financial and other resource positions of the smallholder farmers, who constitute the majority of the country’s farm population
He noted that the government policies to support investment and supply of such services were either weak or absent, meanwhile the private sector was disinterested and reluctant to invest into such basic machinery for lack of profit and or poor market demands.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw said the focus on extension education in terms of what to plant, how to plant, spray and fertilise dominate at the expense of such farm services.
Dr Ampadu-Ameyaw said while the government imitated programmes such as PFaJ, Youth in Agriculture, Planting for Exports and Rural Development, One District One Factory, were good and could propel agriculture to enable it to contribute successfully to development, access to, adoption and use of these support services can enhance agricultural production in the country.
For her part, the Deputy Director, CSRI-STEPRI, Dr Adelaide Agyeman, said the workshop was to share knowledge and findings of research to inform and strengthen Ghana’s SI-related policy and investment processes.
She explained that it was important because it provided a framework to guide the integration of SI measures into agricultural development policy and planning.
She said the main outcome of STEPRI activity was that effective partnerships were built with farmers, local communities and research and development partners in the private and public sectors to ensure delivery and uptake at a scale of SI technologies, innovations, and practices.