Some vegetable traders and farmers in the Assin Fosu Municipality in the Central Region, have hailed government’s envisioned digitalization agenda as captured in 2022 budget statement read on Wednesday.
The farmers who are largely into tomato, onion, shallots, okra, garden-eggs, sweet pepper, carrots, cabbage, chili pepper, and hot pepper agribusiness told the Ghana News Agency that the move will facilitate information sharing and easy access.
It will also enhance productivity, give strong assurance to farmers for ready markets for their produce to sustain national food security and export to better their lot.
Mr. Ken Ofori Atta, the Finance Minister, presenting the 2022 budget in alignment with Government’s overall vision and medium-term priorities on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, pledged to accelerate agricultural modernisation as a major intervention under GhanaCARES.
The objective is to build on existing programmes, such as “Planting for Food and Jobs” and “Rearing for Food and Jobs”, by supporting commercial farming, particularly by the educated youth.
Mr. Daniel Addo Mensah, a 43-year-old vegetable farmer told the GNA that easy and accessible information were critical components to the agricultural modernisation programme to ensure value for their produce.
He explained that a register or an electronic database of farmers to provide ready access to relevant information such as farm size, digital location, types of crops, yields, and market linkages was necessary.
He was glad that the government’s database will also have a platform with a feature for tracking fertilizer and seed distribution to reduce malpractices to enable them extend more support to their farmers.
Madam Constance Amoah, a vegetable-seller, said having a functional-database of all farmers, traders and market information would improve tracking and target efficiency and transparency in their business.
“We lack information on new markets for vegetables so we often rely on the known markets. Some of the farms are in the hinterlands so by the time their produce get to the market, some of the vegetables had gone bad, so this will help.”
“It will ease our transport cost, build direct relationship with farmers so we can be helping each other in selling and buying on credit because there is trust and a common platform,” she said.
Agro-processing for value addition is to ensure rapid competitive food-import substitution, job creation, exports, and industrialisation.
A young agriculturist, Mr. Emmanuel Odoom, who ventured into garden-eggs farming after completing Assin Nsuta Senior High School (SHS), said the intension was good but expressed fear about its effective implementation and also politicisation.
He said “I studied Agriculture Science at SHS so I know that agro-processing for value-addition is good to reduce food-import, job creation, exports, and industrialisation.”
However, the traders and farmers appealed for downward review of taxes on farm implements and agro supplies, especially fertilizer and chemicals which affected the price of their farm produce.
The farmers also advocated soft loans and other incentive packages to encourage many people, particularly the youth to accept agriculture as a viable means of economic survival.
That will reduce unemployment, sustain national food security and give strong boost to exportable farm produce to enhance national development.