Tuesday, June 28, 2022

UE/R: Pay special attention to organic farming-Stakeholders appeal to govt

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An appeal has been made to Government to as a matter of urgency, pay special attention to the promotion of organic farming in the country.

The appeal was made at a stakeholder’s forum of Senior Regional and District Agriculture Staff, Environmental Protection Agency, the Ghana Standard Authority, Farmers Based Organizations, Organic Farming NGOs, input dealers and the media.

Cross section of the stakeholders at the Organic Farming forum held in Bolgatanga of the UER

It was to create a platform for the stakeholders to discuss and brainstorm on a research findings dubbed “the extent to which organic agriculture has been considered in current agriculture policies and programmes under the Appropriate Inputs and Certification for Organic Farming Project”, carried out in some selected municipalities and districts in the Northern parts of the country. Participants to forum were stakeholder drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

It was organized by the Coalition for the Advancement of Organic Farming CAOF in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, and sponsored by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenged BUSAC Fund and its development partners, Danish International Development Agency DANIDA, USAID and the European Union EU.

Speaking to Radio Ghana, the Coordinator of CAOF, Gerard Lapointe Agana, said forum was to establish the extent to which organic agriculture had been considered in current government policies, plans and programmes and to advocate at ensuring that the sector was given much attention.

Participants argued that, if the trend was not checked, the country could experience food insecurity within the next ten years to come.

According to the stakeholders, there were already a heavy dosage of fertilizers and synthetic materials in the soil of Ghana which was leading to the degradation of the soil and causing soil infertility.

Whilst proposing that the best way to tackle the problem was for the government to prioritize organic farming, the stakeholders indicated that, organic farming was also an effective tool for addressing climate change and preserving the environment.

The stakeholders called on the Government to take a cue from the banning of vegetables from Ghana, by the European Market which was just lifted in September last year and ensure that organic farming was given enough room in the Government fertilizer subsidy.

The stakeholders however, expressed worry about the spate of the misapplication of chemicals by some farmers, causing health hazards to the farmers and farm produce including the pollution of water bodies and the environment was of the view that organic farming was antidote to the problem.

They argued further that in spite of the declaration by the African Union AU for all member countries to mainstream ecological organic agricultural practices into national policies, Ghana is yet to develop, a specific policy on organic agriculture.

Whilst commending the government for establishing the Organic Desk at the National Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture MOFA, they appealed to Government and the MOFA to decentralize the Organic Desk to the Regional and District levels to help promote the farming practice.

The stakeholders underscored the need for farmers to be sensitized and encouraged to take up organic farming instead of solely concentrating on inorganic farming and also emphasized the need for the government to put in place stimulation packages to encourage more farmers to adopt the farming concept.

They impressed upon MOFA to lead in the piloting of the Green Label Scheme in the above mentioned three Regions to ensure that the farmers get certification in other to get fair prices of their produced vegetables and fruits.

 
 

Story by: Emmanuel Akayeti

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