With the importation of some 520 multipurpose mini tractors, Farmer Based Organizations (FBO) across the country say they could increase yields by 25 percent in a year.
Speaking to the Business Finder, the farmers noted that the increase was going to be on a quarterly basis as many of their crops (especially maize and vegetables) took 90 days to harvest.
The farmers indicated that the multipurpose tractors could be employed to undertake several functions including plowing, pulling seed drills, leveling and harrowing among others.
They further noted that it would reduce human labour and save the land from chemicals that were progressively extracting nutrients from the soil.
Farmers to expand operations
Nana Odofo Koranteng President of Agric Ola Farming and Marketing Society LTD, said if farmers acquired the machines, productivity would increase as they would have the ability to plow as many acres of land as they wanted.
He noted that most tractor operators charged exorbitantly making it difficult for farmers to prepare their lands for cultivation.
President of ‘Nyonko Do’ Farmers’ Association Rebecca Aboagye, said the association had 1200 acres of land with inadequate machinery to tilt and prepare it for farming. She said they only plowed a few acres that ended up reducing work output.
Ms Aboagye said farming was a lucrative job and pleaded with the government to help farmers especially women to acquire the tractors.
She said “with pineapple production, it can cost a farmer GH? 2,335 to cultivate, and you can gain GH¢40,000 after harvesting.
With pepper, you can use GH¢ 55 to cultivate and harvest a total of GH¢ 700. Also a farmer can GH¢ 55 for the cultivation of maize and harvest about GH¢10, 000”
Referring to the amount generated, she said this was how rich a farmer could be if only they had the necessary tools and equipment to cultivate the land on time.
Dou Tettey also of Dnari Land Vegetable Growers and Marketing Corporative Society noted that some tractor operators do not come to service the lands at the onset of the growing season.
“We need tractors to prepare the land and to dredge it. The availability of these new machines will help increase productivity and bring more money into our pockets”, he stressed.
Financial Secretary of Our Future Farmers Association, Seidu Hassan Elvis said their organization was hopeful of a 60 percent increase in yield should the group have the means to acquire the machines.
“We don’t have any tractor in the Awutu Senya East municipality” he stressed.
He said the situation was causing huge damages to their lands leaving them with small acres to cultivate.
Mr James Aryee Lomotey also indicated that the use of chemicals had gradually cost most lands to lose their nutrients. He said the new machines will help to plow and slash the land without destroying its quality.
“The chemicals usually kill nutrients in the soil and it makes it difficult to have fertile lands. In recent times, some nutrients needed for efficient crop production is not available. Previously we had lands that we could cultivate mushrooms from but the usage of chemicals have prevented the mushrooms from growing.” he lamented
Farmer groups seek funding to access tractors
Mr Koranteng pleaded with the government to support the various associations to buy the machines in order to be fully equipped in supporting the planting for food and jobs concept.
He said if the government made the agricultural sector more appealing, the youth will joyously participate in farming activities.
President of the ‘Nyonko Do’ Farmers’ association, requested a soft loan from the government to help them acquire the tractors.
She noted that the association was willing to pay back in installment since they did not have the required amount to purchase the accessories.
“For now we need support because if we go as individuals we can’t purchase it.
This proves the importance of the associations, so we can come together and purchase but we still request that the prices are reduced a bit” lamented Mr Lomotey