Farmers in the Sissala West District say they are hopeful their crops will rebound after the resumption of rainfall in the area. The farmers say prior to the recent rains, the area experienced an extended dry spell.
Some of the farmers who spoke to GBC explained that the dry spell lasted for more than 14 days, a situation which they described as highly unusual for the rainy season. The Director of Agriculture for the Sissala West District, Mahama Salifu explained that due to the highly irregular rainfall pattern this year, some farmers were unable to plant their seeds despite preparing their lands.
He however was confident that due to the resumption of the rains, farmers who planted earlier in the year, would still have a good harvest with some insignificant effects.
“They had a long dry spell for about two weeks and some people are even yet to plant. If it is cowpea [they are yet to plant], it will do but for the other crops, if the rains cease in the middle of October, it will be disastrous.”
“We always have a critical stage of the plant when the dry spell occurs, does not meet it, particularly the flowering or cobbing stage, the plants are able to recover when the rains resume although there will be some insignificant effects on the yeild,” he explained.
Touching on the issue of fertilizer, Mr Salifu mentioned that the lack of subsidized fertilizers is having severe effects on the finances of farmers. He explained that farmers now have to cough out up to 200 Ghana Cedis to get fertilizer that would have ordinarily cost just a little over a 100 Ghana Cedis under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
He disclosed that in his discussions with some input dealers, they mentioned to him that they buy the fertilizers (50kgs) from producers in Accra at 165 Ghana Cedis, which forces then to add up to 40 Ghana Cedis to the wholesale price in order to be able to cover transportation costs and other overhead costs before retailing to farmers.
The farmers are of the opinion that the Ministry of Agriculture’s release of funds to address the fertilizer problem, maybe too little too late.
Story filed by Mark Smith.