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Peasant farmers question criteria for awarding national best farmer

The Association believes the current criteria is skewed to favour large-scale farmers, as against peasant farmers.

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The group said there is also discrimination when it comes to the distribution of packages to assist farmers in the country.

According to them, large-scale farmers are given juicy prize packages while smallholder farmers and women who constitute majority of farmers are given hoes and cutlasses.

The PFAG observed that peasant farmers are often awarded with “hoes, cutlasses, knapsack sprayers, fertilizer and at best, bicycles and motor cycle,” whereas large-scale farmers are given “houses, pickups, tractors, combine harvesters”.

This, they said, is in spite of the fact that smallholder farmers provide over 80 per cent of the country’s food and raw materials.

In a statement, the group said it doesn’t understand why it has to be so and want to know the criteria used in rewarding deserving farmers.

“It must be noted that, whiles large scale farming is by choice in developed countries, in Ghana, it is by privilege, gender and inheritance,” sections of the statement reads.

It adds that most women have no choice of expanding their farm size due to land tenure system and difficulty accessing credit for being a woman.

“It would, therefore be unfair for such a woman who has a passion for agriculture to miss the opportunity of winning a house to a man who is privileged to inherit resources, land and also, has access to credit due to availability of inherited collateral.”

The PFAG, therefore, wants the Ministry of Food and Agriculture which is responsible for the award scheme to relook at it with the view to improving it to benefit smallholder farmers.

Ghana annually marks Farmers Day on December 7 to celebrate the efforts of farmers across the country.

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