Vegetable farmers in Gomoa Brofo, a farming community in the Central Region of Ghana, are in a stronger position to protect their farms against pests.
Access to extension services from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has enabled many vegetable farmers in Gomoa Brofo to gain more from their farming business as they were exposed to best farming practices.
The farmers who acquired the requisite skills and knowledge in the application of pesticides through vigorous training provided by an agriculture extension officer from the MoFA, said they have been able to improve on their yields which have also translated into more income.
Madam Grace Paintsil, President of the Association explained that before the training programme, the farmers were only able to farm up to two (2) acres of land but currently that figure has doubled to four (4) acres because they now adopt best methods of farming.
“We are now gaining more from the farming business due to the awareness of the best farming practices courtesy the BUSAC Fund supported programme,” she said.
Adding that “the individual members are also able to make more money to cater for their families and other people who depend on them for a living.”
She added that the association has grown in terms of the membership. It started with 40 members but it has arisen to over 70 members with more women than men spreading around the community.
Madam Grace Paintsil revealed that the BUSAC Fund’s intervention was timely, given the kind of frustration they were going through at the hands of the pests and insects.
“We thank BUSAC Fund and its development partners DANIDA, USAID, and EU so much because they have helped us to regain confidence in our business and also be able to cater to our families and other people who depend on us for a living,” she said.
Patricia Attah, a member of the Association stated that her farming business has been given a new facelift following the advocacy action. She said she had acquired more skills to engage in the farming business without facing the challenges that existed before the advocacy action.
“In fact I have acquired the skills to do my farming. I will transfer the skills that I have acquired to my family members and friends who want to go into farming,” she said.
The training dubbed “Access to improved and effective methods of farming leading to good yields” formed part of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund advocacy programme by the Association.
Until the advocacy action, infestation of crops by pests, insects and weeds that led to poor yields were the main problems affecting the vegetable growers. This problem persisted largely because of their inability to access the limited number of Agric extension officers in the Gomoa District who would otherwise have equipped them with improved methods of farming such as effective use of fertilizers, pesticides and multiply improved seedling.
As part of the advocacy action, MoFA assigned an extension officer to the community to oversee the activities of the association in educating its members on the approved methods of farming.
The BUSAC Fund aims at contributing to the creation of a more enabling business environment for the development and growth of the Ghanaian private sector.
This is achieved by empowering business membership organizations, trade unions, and the media, to influence public policy formulation by undertaking appropriate research, developing evidence-based policy positions and advocating those positions with government and other private sector organizations that may be targeted by the action.