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A 2017-2018 annual analysis on the agricultural value chain in 10 regions, has identified issues of inadequate storage facilities, poor road network and high cost of inputs as major constraints that confront Ghanaian farmers.
Mr Emmanuel Agyei Odame, Deputy Director, Directorate of Agricultural Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who disclosed this at the opening of a two-day national coordinating workshop for the Research-Extension-Farmer-Linkages Committee (RELCs) said a total of 603 and 527 different constraints for years 2017 and 2018 respectively, were identified in the analysis.
He said the 2017 and 2018 annual RELCs analysis done on the agricultural value chain in the 10 former regions of Ghana, also revealed the issues of poor marketing, unavailability of simple processing machines to process, package and sell excess food, high cost of feed, drugs and vaccines, and land encroachment as other factors militating agriculture production.
Also, inadequate veterinary services, fall army worm invasion, high cost of labour, among others were problems that confronted the agricultural sector.
He said the data from the 2017 and 2018 indicated that some solutions were provided, but there were still many to be addressed.
However, Mr Odame said the government, together with the Canadian government was working with the researchers of the CSIR and other extension officers to provide solutions that would enhance agriculture productivity and the lot of farmers.
He said the government was addressing the challenges through the provision of improved seeds and fertilizers, especially under its flagship programmes like the planting for food and jobs, among others.
The government, he said, was also establishing storage facilities around the country for especially, rice farmers to store their produce, while the establishment of ware houses were being explored.
Mr Kwaku Owusu Baah, the Technical Adviser, Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme, a Canadian government funded project, called for a closer collaboration between researchers and policy makers and implementers to achieve the mandate of food security for the country.
He emphasised on the need to strengthen synergies and bridge the communication gaps between research and institutions, including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to avoid “working in silos”.
He said the Canadian High Commission was prepared to make more funding available through the MAP programme to aid the improvement and promotion of the communication among researchers and institutions.
The RELCs meeting afforded the participants the platform to discuss issues of research, and bring to the fore, policy issues emanating from RELC planning sessions and outcomes of RELCS activities for 2018/2019, and plan for the year ahead.
The RELCs is an interface between the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and the National Agricultural Extension System with a primary purpose of making extension services delivery demand-driven and responsive to the needs of the value chain actors.
It is an important platform that ensures that agriculture technology and innovations were transferred to farmers for their application and ensuring that research addressed the needs of farmers in the short, medium and long term scenarios.