The Chairman of the tractor owners Association in Tumu in the Sissala East District, Mr. Fuseini Kanton has appealed to the government to subsidize the price of seed planters and harrows for farmers to help cushion the current increasing cost involved in farming, especially in accessing human labor for ploughing and seed planting and agro-inputs.
He made these statements in an interview with Ghana News Agency at his farm. “The cost involved in using a harrow and a planter is cheaper as compared to human and physical labor, with labor 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 for a day, provide food and transport,” he said.
Mr. Kanton also lamented that the hikes in fuel prices had also affected the activities of tractor operators in the area, thereby increasing tractor services 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, ” he said.
He said, “Generally parts and tractor maintenance had all gone up, even servicing diesel and oil filters had all changed, servicing that cost GH¢400 in the past, now need over GH¢1,000 to run and maintain a tractor for farming”.
“Those who bought tractors this year to do business may find it difficult to break even, let alone paying as a lot of people are not Ploughing this year due to the cost of fertilizer and other agro-inputs seed, weedicide, among others had all gone up”.
Mr. Kanton also said the weather was a threat to crop cultivation in Tumu as the area only received rain showers in May, adding that “Maize production and 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. 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.