The lack of adequate agricultural extension officers (AEOs) in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region is seriously thwarting productivity on the farms and efforts to realise the full agricultural potential of the area.
Presently, only eight AEOs are supervising 58,819 farmers in the district.
“This is woefully inadequate and cannot enhance farming,” the District Chief Executive (DCE), Seth Agbi, said.
He disclosed these at this year’s Regional Farmers Day durbar held in Sogakope last week Friday.
The celebration was on the theme: “Accelerating agriculture development through value addition”.
Mr Agbi said South Tongu was endowed with vast arable land suitable for different crops and livestock.
Further, he said the Volta Lake, which ran through the district also provided great opportunities for fishing and irrigation.
The DCE said the farmers produced pepper, maize, cassava, okro, rice, sugarcane, tomatoes, watermelon and mango.
He maintained that with the deployment of more AEOs, the district would attain great heights in food production in the country.
Mr Agbi, therefore, appealed to the Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, for more AEOs to enable the district to pursue that dream with great zeal and enthusiasm.
According to him, a lot of young people in South Tongu were ready to venture into large-scale food production and any support for them with the appropriate technology and funding would definitely yield massive revenue from the bountiful harvests.
Touching on the theme, the DCE said farmers in the district, and the nation in general faced the challenge of low incomes from the produce, because of their inability to add value to the raw materials.
That, he said, highlighted the need to take bold steps to process farm produce for larger markets and incomes and create employment in the sector.
Dr Letsa noted that there were currently new cassava processing plants springing up across the region to absorb farmers’ harvests.
He said cassava was easily grown across the region and indeed all over Ghana with little effort since it did well in most soils.
However, he said land acquisition should be streamlined and facilitated by the various assemblies in conjunction with clan and family heads, to forestall litigation over farmlands.
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