Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) in partnership with International Budget Partnership (IBP) and Send-Ghana schools small-scale farmers in Sissala East Municipal on efficient fertilizer subsidy as a way of facilitating food production in the area.
The two day non-residential workshop took place on 28th December, 2020 -29th December, 2020 and brought together various individual farmers, representatives of farmer groups and Representatives of Farmer based organizations in the Sissala East Municipal. This event was hosted at the Sissala East Municipal Assembly Conference hall in the Municipal Capital-Tumu.
Key amongst stakeholders who honored an invitation were, the Sissala East Municipal MCE Hon.Karim Nanyua, the Regional Crops Officer Mr.Vuozie Fredreick Domah who is also in-charge for Planting for food and jobs Fertilizer and some security apparatus in the Sissala East Municipal.
According to Dr.Charles K.K.Nyaaba who is the head of advocacy; Peasant Famers Association of Ghana (PFAG) consists of individual farmers and farmer groups as well as value chain actors and Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs). Membership cuts across the length and breadth of the country. The association was carved in the year 2005 as a result of the untold hardship on small-scale farmers emanating from unfavorable National Agriculture policies that seemly threatened the dignity and livelihood of small- scale farmers in Ghana. Thereof, the association was officially given registered on August 2008 as not for profit making organization but a mouth piece for the above mentioned members.
He further said that, members of the association basically engage in the production of food, livestock and fisheries and in addition, the association facilitates and promotes collective actions by smallholder farmers to enhance their efforts to lobby and advocate for sound agriculture, social and economic policies.
Dr.Nyaaba stipulated that, the mission of the association is to work in harmony with others to provide conducive environment for the growth and development of small -scale farmers, mainly through advocacy, lobbying and service delivery in Organizational and Technical Capacity Building and knowledge Management, Strategic Partnership Building, Business Development and Membership Strengthening.
The theme of the workshop was ‘’Efficient Fertilizer Subsidy Programme for Enhanced Food Production by Smallholder Farmers’’. The workshop seeks to inculcate into participants how to put up a very comprehensive, well-researched proposal to organizations into Agribusiness.
The lead facilitator for the workshop in the person of Dr.Charles K.K.Nyaaba, an expert in Agribusiness and the head of advocacy at Peasant Farmers Association took his turn to make a presentation and also facilitated some sessions.
In his presentation, he disclosed that, Sissala East Municipal is the only area in the Upper West region to be part of few sampled areas to implement some interventions. In his presentation, he alluded the fact that Sissala East Municipal is a hub for maize farming but was however in hast to have also mentioned incidences of fertilizer smuggling as those who suffer as a result of the nefarious activities do usually lament. He admonished participants to brainstorm holistic approach to curbing fertilizer smuggling as that would increase farm produce or yield and hence enhance livelihood.
During a presentation by the Regional crops officer, he admitted there exist some bottlenecks in the PFJ implementation and thus goes to mention some of the challenges as; Politicization of the program, not knowing the quota of subsidy fertilizer for the region and Municipal and Districts respectively, unfair distribution, poor distribution of rainfall and many others.
The MCE Hon. Karim Nanyua in his presentation admonished the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to as part of effective implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs Subsidy fertilizer program institute regular and surprised visits or monitor the distribution or outlets to ensure well targeting. He disclosed that, the PFJ program is cut short by government, small-scale farmers in his area will bear untold hardship as majority rely on the program as the only means of livelihood.
The MCE, though enthused for the workshop was however not hesitant in expressing his displeasure on the unfair distribution of the subsidy fertilizer without cognizance to the quantum of farm produce that comes from his area compared to other Districts in the region and beyond. He also bemoaned the unfounded headlines of Sissala East Municipal being in the media as a hub for fertilizer smuggling and this he sees it as exaggeration but not a reality.
In conclusion, he charged the media and other ambassadors to also positively sell out the municipality to the world that, they are the best and largest producer of maize in the country.
Participants were taken through an acronym FACT(Farmers-Advocacy-Consultation-Tool),AIR(Accountable-Inform-Relevant Issue),CROP9Consult-Register-Order Information-Process the information) and the following areas such as; Training Budget, Consultations to Membership, Participatory Research, Writing SMART Proposals, Lobby Mapping and Stakeholder Analysis, Planning and Follow-up phase
Participants were put into groups to conceptualize the concepts learnt and representatives from each group made to do presentations subject to criticism from all participants and subsequent correction by facilitators in the persons of Madam Adedeloapo Alabi and Patience Ayitey and assisted by Pascal who is in-charge of communication.
A summary of all what was learnt by participants were put into a drama form and casted by some participants randomly picked by the facilitators for each role. There was a rehearsal before the actual drama to the admiration of all present in the workshop.
There was wide spread expression of take-a- ways(lessons) from the workshop by participants as a session was organized to test what each participants had learnt from all sessions. There was a room for clarifications from facilitators on pertinent issues raised by participants.
As part of a closing remark by Dr,Nyaaba, he charged participants to form groups and try putting up catchy proposals as that will at least earn them some support in their farming activities other than solely relying on one source which is government.
A representative of the participants in the person of Mr.Bavia Majeed on behalf of all participants expressed their appreciation to the PFAG and their partners for organizing such productive workshop and hence looks forward to having a continuation of the workshop.