Farmers in the Upper West Region have begun collecting their crops off the fields early this year. The farmers speaking to A1 Radio said they are doing to prevent further losses of yields to bush fires.
The Director of Operations at Antika Farms who doubles as the Executive Council Member for the National Seed Trade Association-Ghana (NaSTAG), Seidu Abdulai Mubarik recalled that last year, his organisation lost more than 120 metric tonnes of maize seeds from farms in the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa and Sissala West Districts. The cost of the damages was estimated at ¢600,000.00.
This year, Mr. Mubarik said his organisation has lost over 1,100 ‘maxi’ bags of maize to floods and bush fires. To prevent further losses, farmers with his organisation have resorted to collecting produce from the fields earlier than they would normally do. He added that more resources had gone into creating bigger fire belts to also prevent the loss of more grains.
“Roughly, about 1,100 bags lost to floods and bush fires. We know the environment in which we are some of these things are bound to happen. When they do, unfortunately, we do not have government intervention to come to support. Last year what we lost, we suffered the losses. This year, it is the same thing. Last year however we were fortunate that the prices augmented our losses”.
“This year we are doing a lot of early harvesting. As I speak, we are almost done with harvesting. Unlike last year, harvests were on the field until the end of December,” he explained.
Antika is both an input retailer and a maize, rice, soya and groundnut seed production
company. It produces foundation seeds on its own farms and uses more than 145 farmers to multiply certified seeds.
Meanwhile, farmers, aggregators and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector are worried about the pace at which prices of grains, cereals and other legumes are rising. The stakeholders say the prices of these food items may continue to rise to a point where the prices may be beyond what the average Ghanaian may be able to afford.
Mr. Mubarik speaking to A1 Radio at Wa disclosed that the presence of foreign nationals, Indians and Burkinabés, on the Ghanaian market to purchase the grains, cereals and legumes like soyabeans are to blame for the current prices hikes.