Mr. Fuseini Kanton, the Chairman of the tractor owners Association in Tumu in the Sissala East District, has appealed to the government to subsidize the price of fuel as the price of tractor services such as seed planting and harrowing keep increasing, making it more unbearable for farmers.
He said this would help cushion the increasing cost of farming, especially in accessing mechanization services like ploughing and seed planting, among others.
Mr. Fuseini Kanton made this appeal in an interview at Tumu, adding that the usage of a harrow and planter used to be cost-effective compared to accessing human labour, but the narrative has changed.
“The cost involved in using a harrow and a planter is too expensive lately as compared to human and physical labour, with labour you will need a dibble that charges GH¢40 and the one to sow also takes another GH¢40.00, whereas eight hours a day cost GH¢30 per person to do planting.”Mr. Fuseini Kanton
Hikes in fuel prices affect activities of tractor operators
Mr. Kanton also lamented that the hikes in fuel prices have affected the activities of tractor operators in the area, adding that the price of tractor services has shot up by 100 percent per acre this farming season.
“Last year, a gallon of diesel cost GH¢27 but is now sold for about GH¢54.9. Last year, an acre of land with a size of 70 x 70 yards was ploughed for GH¢100 but currently goes for double the amount.”Mr. Fuseini Kanton
He said, “Generally parts of tractor and tractor maintenance have all gone up. Even servicing diesel and oil filters have all changed. Servicing that cost GH¢400 in the past is now over GH¢1,000. To run and maintain a tractor for farming is increasingly expensive”.
“Those who bought tractors this year to do business may find it difficult to break even. Many people are not ploughing this year due to the skyrocketing price of fertilizer and other agro-inputs such as seeds, weedicide, among others.”Mr. Fuseini Kanton
Maize production to drop in 2023
Mr. Kanton disclosed that the weather is a threat to crop cultivation in Tumu as the area only received rain showers in May.
“Maize production in the market will drop next year because I and many other people have cut down on acreages and shifted from maize field to do Soya, Cowpea and, Sesame.”Mr. Fuseini Kanton
Mr. Samuel Akuetteh, an official from the Department of Agriculture, observed that the Sissala East area alone could cultivate over a hundred thousand acres of maize in a seasonal year.
The price of fuel has been competing with Usain Bolt since the inception of the Russia-Ukraine war. This has led to the rise in the price of agro-inputs, thereby affecting farmers and consumers alike.
Some agri-experts have predicted that a looming national food security issue awaits Ghana.
However, these experts believe that although it’s complex, its complexity should not stop the government from heeding the cry of workers along the agricultural value chain while supporting local fertilizer producers to manufacture fertilizers locally to combat the current hardships farmers face.