An NGO, Agency for Health and Food Security, is calling for a specific policy to address the challenges faced by indigenous vegetable farmers after research revealed that over 80% of farmers have not been trained on how to use pesticides, leading to misapplication of agrochemicals on vegetables.
Research by the NGO on the vegetable sector with a sample size of 120 farmers in the northern, southern and ecological zones, identified gaps in Ghana's agriculture policy and the vegetable value chain, with land acquisition as the biggest problem facing vegetable farmers.
According to the lead researcher and crop scientist Kwaku Asante, the government must build the capacity of local farmers and develop agriculture markets to achieve food security.
In an interview with Class91.3FM's Jerry Akornor after an advocacy training for journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the vegetable sector by the BUSAC Fund in Accra, the Director of Agency for Health and Food Security, Mr Asante said there is the urgent need for a policy to resolve the problems confronting the local vegetable farmer.
"The key findings are that the vegetable sector needs a policy that addresses commodity needs of farmers, determines what exactly is to be done per commodity, and most actors within the sector must be trained because more than 80% of respondents said they were not trained. There should be a policy that pushes for capacity-building of farmers", he told Class News.
Mr Asante also wants the government to reserve lands in every Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDA) for vegetable cultivation and production.
"There are conflicts when it comes to the acquisition of land for the vegetable farmer so they tend to do subsistence farming instead of commercial. ... Initiatives of getting land reserved for vegetable production should be taken up by MOFA Departments within MMDAs," he advised.