The Smallholder Agricultural Mechanization Project (SAMP) is a project which seeks to improve the incomes and agricultural productivity of 15,000 smallholder farmers in the Upper West Region through increased access to mechanization services of simple and affordable machinery that will also not disturb the soil structure.
Addressing participants at the launch of the project in Wa on Thursday 5th April, 2018, the Ag. Upper West Regional Minister Hon. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku said that smallholder farmers are the main producers of the world’s food and they will have to increase production up to 100% by 2050 if we want production to be in tandem with feeding the growing population.
He mentioned that as part of efforts aimed at creating an enabling environment for increased agricultural production and productivity, Government has subsidized fertilizer prices for farmers by half of its original market price, made available improved seeds and also initiated moves to build warehouses in every region to store produce after harvest to prevent post- harvest losses.
He added that the buffer stock company has been revived to provide ready market for farm produce.
He however appealed to the project implementers to ensure the effective participation of the rural farmers in the implementation process so that their rich experiences and know how will feed into the future of the project.
The Ag. Regional Minister cautioned that the rural farmers’ expertise should not be underestimated because they have adopted strategies to withstand all challenges and difficulties over the years. Hon. Chinnia Issahaku later commended Agro Africa and the project partners for this laudable initiative and appealed to farmers to take advantage of the benefits of this project in the Region.
On his part, the Programme Officer for Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa Project (FISFAP) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Mr. Paa Kwasi Awuku – Darko said the overall goal of FISFAP is to reduce food insecurity and increase the income of over 700,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania by 2020 through enhanced access to affordable and appropriate financial and non – financial services. He mentioned that in Ghana, FISFAP will directly impact 200,000 smallholder farmers.
Mr. Darko added that mechanized ploughing has become necessary in many places under the current farming systems when animal traction is not an option. Tractor service market has quietly started to develop and tractor owners are often relatively medium and larger farmers that also provide hiring services to smallholder farmers.
Mr. Darko further added that AGRA through the MasterCard Foundation has supported Agro Africa and Tro Tro Tractor to develop a pool of 350 tractor service operators to offer hiring services for Agricultural Machinery through an innovative technology platform Tro Tro Tractor Limited for 15,000 smallholder farmers in the Upper West Region.