As part of an advocacy process and engagement of stakeholders in the Agriculture sector, the Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA) a consortium of NGOs in collaboration with the Yendi Municipal Assembly has held a consultative forum on Agriculture development to solicit views and concerns especially, women and civil society organizations on priority areas in the Yendi Municipality.

Mr. Richard Bekyieriya, a representative of SEND GHANA who deputized for the Director in his welcome address said NGGA activities was to complement the effort of government and the Yendi Municipal Assembly. He noted that the organization works within a frame work to promote popular participation of the grassroots in decision making and to ensure that institutions at the local levels were strengthened for effective coordination and integration of key actors in decentralized development.

Mr. Richard observed that the Medium Term Development Plans (MTDP) had been considered as MMDAs priorities taking into cognizance of the development needs of various MMDAs. In reality however, he said the plans do not reflect the real aspirations and priorities of citizens.

From the above observation, Mr. Richard explained that there was the need for the forum so that their views, concerns, and recommendations to develop a collective voice for citizen’s agriculture inputs into the MTDP of Yendi Municipal Assembly. “When that is done citizens participation in the planning process would be improved. It would also improves efficiency in the Municipal plan budget allocation and targeted spending which would guarantee increased in public expenditure transparency and accountability”, he emphasized.

He therefore charged participants to take the discussions very serious since the outcome of it would be incorporated into the preparation of Yendi Municipal Assembly MTDP for 2018 – 2021.

Mr. Tika Seidu Abdul-Razak, an Assistant Planning Officer for the Yendi Municipal Planning Coordinating Unit, on his part took participants through the composition of the Municipal Planning Coordinating Unit (MPCU), its mandate and the plan preparation process.

Key issues identified by participants at the forum were which were believed hindering agriculture development in the Municipality included, inadequate and untimely supply of farm inputs, inadequate extension services to farmers, unavailability of ready market for farm produce and lack of storage facilities. Other identified key issues includes inadequate knowledge of framers on how to store farm produce properly, lack of access to productive lands, and reliable credit facility for farmers, especially women and lack of agriculture mechanization centers for farmers to have access to tractor and other services.

The participants of the forum also noted with concern the high cost of farm inputs and tractor services as well as the absence of a Sub-Committee at the Municipal Assembly to champion the course of Agriculture in the Yendi Municipal as hindrance of agriculture development in the Municipality.

They (participants) therefore urged the Municipal Assembly and for that matter government to take those issues seriously if Ghana was to become self-sufficient in food production.

Participants were drawn from women groups, CSO, traditional authorities, Citizens groups, Assembly members and with disabilities among others.

The meeting was organized by Northern Ghana Government Activity, Consortium made up of SEND GHANA, CARE International Ghana, WANEP, and Action Aid with support from USAID.

 

Source: Ahmed Hussein