A consultative forum, which aimed to solicit views and concerns, especially from women and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on priority areas of Agriculture development has taken place in Yendi in the Northern Region of Ghana.


It was organized by the Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA), a Consortium made up of SEND GHANA, CARE International Ghana, WANEP and Action Aid, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in collaboration with the Yendi Municipal Assembly.


Participants were drawn from Women’s groups, CSOs, Traditional authorities, Citizens groups, Assembly members and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), among others.


Opening the meeting, a representative from SEND GHANA, Mr Richard Bekyie Riya, underscored the importance of the meeting, the outcome of which, he said, would be incorporated into the preparation of Yendi Municipal Assembly’s Medium Term Agricultural Development Plan (MTDP) for 2018 to 2021.


Mr Riya said a collective voice was required as the  citizen’s input into the MTDP of the Yendi Municipal Assembly, adding that it was only when that was done that citizen’s participation in the planning process would be improved.


Furthermore, he said, citizen’s participation would also improve efficiency in the Municipal plan budget allocation and targeted spending which would, in turn, guarantee increased public expenditure transparency and accountability.


In a presentation, an Assistant Planning Officer of the Yendi Municipal Planning Co-ordinating Unit, Mr Tika Seidu Abdul-Razak, briefed participants about the composition of the Municipal Planning Co-ordinating Unit(MPCU), its mandate and the plan preparation process.


At the end of the forum participants were able to identify a number of issues that hindered agriculture development in the Municipality, key among which are inadequate and untimely supply of farm inputs; in inadequate extension services; unavailability of ready market for farm produce and the lack of storage facilities for farmers.


The   others are inadequate knowledge of storage and preservation processes by the farmers; lack of access to productive lands, especially by women; and the lack of reliable credit facility for farmers, especially by women.


The rest are the lack of agriculture mechanization centres for farmers’ access to tractor and other services; the high cost of farm inputs and tractor services; and the absence of a sub-Committee at the Municipal Assembly to champion the cause of Agriculture in the Yendi Municipal.


The participants, therefore, urged the Municipal Assembly and, for that matter, government to respond appropriately if Ghana was to become self-sufficient in food production.


.Source: ISD (Ahmed Hussein)