Maize production in the Sissala East Municipality and Sissala West District is likely to be affected as major maize production companies in the area are reducing their production due to financial constraints.
These companies, which practiced the out-grower module of commercial farming, said the decision had become imperative as they could not recover their investment with their out-growers in the previous farming season.
Mr John Dimah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAB Ventures, an agribusiness company told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Tumu that, he would be cultivating only 1,000 acres of maize for the 2021 cropping season out of 19,000 acres produced last year.
Mr Dimah, who was also the 2019 National Best Farmer in maize production category, disclosed that in the year 2019 he cultivated 32,000 acres of maize, which reduced to 19,000 in 2020.
He said some 3,000 out-growers the company engaged every year would have to be laid off as he could only support 1,200 farmers, majority of whom were women.
“I am forced to lay off some of my permanent staff and shift attention to soya beans with women as my target instead of maize,” Mr Dinah added.
Dr Henry Anim Somuah, the CEO of Agromite, another commercial maize production company in the Sissala area, also announced a pull-out of maize production this year.
That, he said, was because he could recover only 30 per cent of the GHC8,000,000.00 he invested to support his company’s out-growers to produce maize in 2020.
He said the company, which cultivated over 20,000 acres of maize last year, would venture into soy beans cultivation this year.
Masara N’arziki, another farming company in the area, which used to be the biggest company supporting farmers, had also reduced its acreages of maize cultivation from over 50,000 acres every year to 10,000 acres this year.
Other agriculture-based companies working in the area including Cisse Farms had all reduced their maize farm sizes.
Mr Haruna Doho, one of the farmers the GNA contacted at Tasor on the development, said some farmers could not pay back the agreed quantities of maize to their input suppliers due to poor yields they recorded last year resulting from the poor quality of fertilizer supplied to them.
He has therefore appealed to the government to intervene else maize farmers would not be able to produce to capacity.
Mr Doho also urged the companies to build the capacity of farmers to enable them withstand challenges associated with maize farming.
Other farmers also blamed the maize yield they recorded last year on the irregular rainfall pattern they experienced.
Available data indicates that the Sissala area was among the highest maize production areas in the country, contributing over 100,000 metric tonnes of maize every year to the country’s food basket.