Farmers without any alternative jobs are getting poorer, a new report by Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) has said.
According to the report, only 17 per cent of Ghanaian farmers engage in non-farm work. What this means is that most farmers, especially in Ghana, heavily depend on the routines of reaping and harvesting. To this end, most of these farmers are left poor.
PEP is calling for a review into Ghana's Agric policies like the Planting for Food and Jobs so as to give farmers alternative jobs aside from traditional farming.
Lead researcher of the project and senior lecturer at the University of Development Studies (UDS), DR. Paul Kwame Nkebe speaking to JoyBusiness said,
“We are saying there is the need for agricultural policies to include measures to promote non-farm work to both increases agricultural market participation and commercialization.”
According to the report, over 90 per cent of rural households depend heavily on agriculture. However, the long dry season, especially in Northern Ghana means that farms lay idle for about seven months each year.
This is where non-farm employment for farmers come to play.
Key on the recommendation was for the government to review its planting for food and jobs policy to include non-farm employment programs for farmers. The report explains this could spike up the commercialization of farm produce across the county.
Meanwhile, the team from the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) have presented this policy brief to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for further deliberations.
Poverty in Ghana is generally a rural phenomenon. About 37.9 per cent of rural households are poor, compared to 10.6 per cent of urban households.
Furthermore, 78 per cent of national poverty is in rural areas.