A 59-year-old accountant, Alhaji Seidu Alhassan, has urged farmers in Ga and its environs in the Wa West District in the Upper West Region, particularly the females among them, to take advantage of a tractor ploughing service that is being offered by Pornah Farms, a private company, to farmers before the start of the farming season.
Alhaji Alhassan, who is a member of staff of the Ghana Heavy Equipment Ltd (GHEL) and also owns Pornah Farms, said he was putting five tractors at the service of farmers in the area in exchange for a bag or two of their produce after harvesting.
The farming season begins in May and ends in November.
He was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a farmers review meeting held at Ga last Friday.
Alhaji Alhassan, who was a one-time Best Farmer in the Wa West District in 2006, said he decided to go into farming in 2004 and had his farming company, Pornah Farms, registered that same year.
He stated that he received technical assistance from Advance Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and invested in livestock, maize, groundnut and millet on a 40-acre piece of land.
He said having observed the difficulties farmers in the area especially female farmers, faced he assisted about 100 farmers in 2015, with tractor ploughing services.
In 2016, he said, the number of farmers in need of his assistance increased to 140.
According to Alhaji Alhassan, this year about 222 farmers have expressed interest to have their farms ploughed. He added that the farmers have been grouped into nine farmer-based organisations (FBOs) and have a total land mass of 600 acres which is expected to be ploughed for the cultivation of maize, groundnut, millet and guinea corn.
He disclosed that through his initiative, Advance Ghana had decided to establish a two-acre demonstration farm in the area this year to educate farmers on best practices in agriculture.
He added that Advance Ghana would in addition take down the biometric data of the farmers to enable them to gain access to credit facilities.
He said the company would also provide the farmers with high quality seeds to improve their plant stock and increase productivity, with the ultimate aim of reducing poverty in the district.
“The activities would enable Advance Ghana to track all inputs and outputs in the various farms,” he said.
The Secretary to the FBOs, Mr Kennedy Mahamood, said he was optimistic that farmers in the district would experience a good harvest this year.
At the meeting, the FBOs elected a seven-member executive committee chaired by Alhaji Alhassan.
The committee has the mandate to ensure that farmers go about their work smoothly and receive managerial and technical assistance promptly.
Farmers who attended the review meeting came from Sooliyiri, Wechiaubau, Baalaboi, Sagbaalong, Kyemuoteng and Gbengjaaguu.
There were others from Samanbo, Nyoli, Nahaa and Woliyiri.