Small scale farmers in Ghana: Issues they encounter

Farmers' lack of knowledge and resources contributes significantly to global food security issues.

Small scale farmers in Ghana: Issues they encounter

The majority of farmers in the developing world are small farmers, whose farmland usually does not exceed several hectares. More so, to get enough food to feed the world's population, farmers have to overcome a series of often unpredictable problems related to factors such as climate change, water shortages, lack of access to professional advice, and armed conflicts in agricultural production areas.

These problems leave millions of people displaced from their homes, unable to work in their fields, unable to get produce to markets or access supplies, and more.

Any strategy to improve food security must focus on increasing productivity and reducing post-harvest losses. Both governments and agribusinesses must promote cost-effective measures that take advantage of new precision farming technologies, strengthen infrastructure, offer professional training, and support smallholder farmers.

Through various public agrarian programs, governments can help farmers create cooperatives that allow them to use their collective strength. Private companies, for their part, can provide these farmers with professional advisory services and necessary materials and play the role of large wholesale buyers of their products.


But most importantly, the modern agritech market offers a variety of precision agriculture technologies for farmers all over the world, which are becoming more and more accessible, including in Africa.

Agriculture in Ghana

One of the biggest threats humanity faces today is climate change. That is why adapting to its changes, learning to mitigate its effects, and not contributing to it are the main tasks of many industries, including agriculture.

Unfortunately, it’s quite challenging for Africa to adapt to the long-term effects of climate change. Firstly, the farmers lack the necessary weather data to prepare for the upcoming climatic events and suffer severe yield losses. This is a particular issue for small farmers. In Ghana, the economy, livelihood, and food security largely depend on farming, mostly on smallholder farmers who account for about 80% of the food production in the region.

The problem is that those farmers are very vulnerable due to their dependence on climate change, low adaptive capacity, and almost no access to necessary assets. However, Ghana’s small farmers can adapt to weather changes with the help of precision agriculture and the benefits it offers.


Satellite Data for Smallholder Farmers

Most small farmers in Africa rely on rainfall patterns due to having no access to other means of irrigation. With such dependence on the weather, it’s best to know about the upcoming weather threats or favorable conditions to plan field activities accordingly and protect the crop.

Usually, small farmers get their weather forecasts through radio or tv, but this data is not local enough, which makes it unreliable. Another issue for smallholder farmers in Ghana arises when they have to decide on fertilizer application — how much to apply and in which field zones.

To perform such precise planning, they also lack the necessary field data. This leads to resource overapplication, environmental pollution, and financial losses. The use of modern agriculture technologies, including precision agriculture software can help solve these issues. For instance, if farmers knew the soil and crop moisture levels on their fields they would be able to make reliable decisions on irrigation of each field area depending on its current condition, not having to worry about over or under-applying water.

This would increase production sustainability thanks to preserved water resources and help to save money. Same concept with other inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc). Satellite imagery analytics is one of the biggest sources of data for farmers. There is different satellite data-based farm management software that can allow farmers to access reliable and relevant field data, including soil moisture, field productivity, crop health, local weather, and more.


Armed with such precision agriculture technology farmers can remotely monitor their crops and detect if they are experiencing stress due to a lack of water, fertilizer, etc. And having weather data to back up the other information, growers can also plan field activities depending on the forecast on the changes in weather patterns in general.

#FeaturedBy: Harry Harry



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