The Farmers Network in Tain District in Brong Ahafo, on Thursday expressed their displeasure for the poor services delivered by agricultural extension agents in the area.
Nana Ligbi Wlotie II, Chairman of the Network said at a news conference jointly organised by the network, ActionAid Ghana and Social Development and Improvement Agency, two NGOs at Nsawkaw, that the district has only nine active extension agents rendering services to more than 7,000 farmers.
He said some of the farmers had not been visited at all by the agents over the years, whilst the few who were attended to was at the convenience of the agents.
Nana Wlotie noted that agricultural extension services “are very crucial in improving the welfare of farmers by providing access to knowledge and information of proven technology to enhance farming activities”.
“The role of extension officers currently goes beyond technology transfer and training, but must also assist farmers in forming useful groups, dealing with marketing issues, monitoring of food security and food safety,” the district chairman added.
Nana Wlotie, who is Odikro of Banda-Boar observed that some of the few agents available were continuing their education and therefore did not report at their operational areas to focus on addressing the concerns of the farmers to encourage especially women and the youth to sustain their interest in farming.
He said the logistics and accommodation challenges were also impeding the effective functions of the extension agents, pointing out that “chemicals are even kept in the office of the staff instead of a ware house”.
The network chairman called on government to attend to the agents’ needs to enable them to perform their duties effectively for the benefit of the farmers.
“Roads in the communities are not accessible and the situation makes it difficult to convey our produce to market centres, leading to heavy post-harvest losses,” Nana Wlotie said.
Mr. John Abaa, Programme Co-ordinator of Action Aid, said a field school had been started on pilot basis in three communities in the district to train people who would assist farmers with new methods of farming to boost production and to help minimise poverty among them.
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