Access to extension services and guaranteed markets remains a problem for farmers – Study

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Members of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative working together (photo:Brian Moody)

Accra, Aug. 20, GNA – A study  conducted by the Africa RISING Project, Ghana has revealed that access to extension services, guaranteed markets for produce and poor road networks continue to be major problems confronting farmers in the country.
The study, “Assessing institutions enabling or constraining access to output and input markets by farm house-holds and delivery pathways for sustainable intensification technologies”, was conducted in the three northern regions of the country.
It called for improved policies and institutional arrangements to increase participation of farm families, especially women and youth in the output and input markets and decision-making; and advocated for implementation by national government, policy makers and development partners.
The Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI) is a collaborating agency for the Africa RISING Project and since 2017 it has been analyzing policies that impact on small-holders farmers.
The Africa RISING project, being implemented in West Africa and East Africa with several collaborators (farmers, researchers, policy institutions, among others), is aimed at generating and disseminating technologies for the adoption of small holder farmers for improved livelihoods.
Dr Adams Abdulai, Research Scientist and the Team Leader, speaking at a validation workshop in Accra, said in Ghana, the project targets small holder farmers in northern Ghana engaged in crop (maize and cowpea and livestock (small ruminants) production and technologies generated in those areas were disseminated to farmers through the concept of “Technology Parks”.
He said the project was linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2 and 15 relating to anger, job creation and employment.
He said the validation workshop was to gather more inputs into the study report and share widely the findings and recommendations of the report for greater policy and institutional support at various levels to improve the living conditions of farming households.
The aim of African rising program is to create opportunities for small holder households to come out of hunger and poverty using Sustainable Intensification (SI) as a tool.
Dr Abdulai said currently the project operates in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa.  In West Africa it covers Ghana and Mali.
He said various factors influence the choice of farmers in using different market channels and called for action based on the significant variables revealed for the market channels, effective extension service delivery coupled with the provision of business advisory service.
Dr Adams said other areas that needed attention are the financial support to small holder farmers to facilitate the adoption of Sustainable Intensification practices and marketing and enforcing grades and standards in markets to increase the economic welfare of farmers through fair practice in trading.
Dr Mavis Dayie, a Research Scientist, presenting research findings on “Delivery Pathways of Sustainable Intensification Technologies, Practice and the Role of Government Extension Service”, said the learning mechanism and delivery pathways employed in the dissemination of SI technologies are very effective leading to higher adoption rates.
She said the benefits outlined are numerous, however, higher yields and unity in decision making are the key benefits noted from the adoption of those practices.
 Dr Wilhemina Quaye, the Director, CSIR-STEPRI, said the Council embarks on policy research to generate research findings for stakeholders to facilitate national development and has the expertise on various fields to achieve that goal.
She called on the public to liaise with the Council for their project proposals and report writing.

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