Story by Carlos Afanou

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, MoFA, has made available 520 tractors comprising 300 global multipurpose mini tractors for small scale farmers and 220 Cabrio four-wheel compact tractors for medium-scale farmers to support them and help boost the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

This was made known Friday, 12th June 2020, by Mr. Amatus K. B. Deyang, the Director of the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate of MoFA. According to him, the tractors would be made available to farmer groups at  40 per cent discount. That is, at a subsidized price, the Cabrio compact tractor for plantation farms such as mango, oil palm and citrus would be offered to farmers at GHC125,000; the Cabrio II compact tractors which are for rice farming would be sold to farmers at GHC150,000; and then the tractors for general farming would go for GHC127,000.

Also, other equipment for spraying crops including Mist Blower and Boom Sprayer would be offered to the farmers at GHC16,000. He added that the tractors would be released to farmers on the basis of 50 per cent payment of the cost. Mr. Deyang urged farmer groups to contact the ministry for special arrangements.

Mr. Amatus K. B. Deyang was speaking during a field trip led by Dr. Karl Laryea, the CEO of Knight a.s Technology Transfer, suppliers of the tractors to farmers especially to farmers of the Awutu Senya Municipality in the Central Region where the tractors were tested and demonstrated.

Also available were, the Awutu Senya East Municipal Director of Agriculture (Mr. Edward Laryea Koney); the Officer in charge of the Awutu Camp Prison, Chief Supt. William Thomas Anaman, and other officials.

According to Mr. Deyang, the tractors would largely boost the Planting for Food and Jobs programme inasmuchas they would bridge the gaps in the production value chain. He claimed that under the PFJ, they have supported farmers with subsidized seeds and fertilizers, but it has been difficult for farmers in the area of farm operations.

However, with the tractors available, farmers would be able to carry out farm operations on time, so that they would not miss out on any stage of the farming season. In addition, the tractors purposed for rice farming in particular would bring a huge relief to farmers who suffered post-harvest losses because they were unable to harvest their produce on time.

Again, the government was bent on helping farmers to change from the use of machete and hoe in farming to mechanised farming in order to make them more productive. He urged farmers to form cooperatives and pool resources to be able to acquire the tractors to improve on their farming activities.

As part of his speech, Dr. Karl Laryea disclosed that the global multipurpose mini tractors had a 15-year lifespan and the capacity to plough a football size field in an hour with one litre of petrol. He added that the company had a spare parts shop at Kaneshie where worn out parts could be replaced.

He continued that the mini tractors were specifically designed to help farmers graduate from crude farming methods to mechanised farming. He assured farmers of training on how to use the tractors by his technical staff.

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