Agribusiness Solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa
Tomato farmers in Ghana describe how unjust trade rules are destroying their livelihoods. Cheap subsidised tomatoes from Europe are being dumped in Ghana and preventing Ghanaian farmers from selling.
Mining companies which are very much closer to farmlands and water bodies must find ways and means by which they will manage the toxic waste that comes from their mining industries instead of pumping them directly into the water bodies around their area of work and even on the land.This affects the soil and the water bodies.Farmlands should be protected by the government from miners.The toxic waste that is forced into the water bodies gives way to acidic rainfall which affects the yield of harvest on the farms.Usually,the plants are affected by different diseases or they even die due to the amount of toxic waste released into the soil which destroys the plants on the farm by destroying the soil nutrients making the soil infertile for farming.
Herdsmen (Fulani) who go about from one town to the other looking for grasslands for their cattles to graze,should be brought to the realization of building an animal husbandry whereby they can monitor the health of their cattles.Most of their cattles travelling gets lost on the way or sometimes stolen by thieves who attacks them as they go out looking for grassland for their cattles to graze.Sometimes the herdsmen leads their cattles to the farms of crop farmers whereby they destroy the crop farms.This situation normally causes serious conflicts between the herdsmen and crop farmers.Some lands should be demacated has meadows for herdsmen to allow their cattles to graze in order to bring an end to the conflicts between herdsmen and crop farmers.Herdsmen should be taught how to prepare hay for their cattles.Most farmers after weeding burn the weeds together with some plants that will be nutritious for cattles.They can gather some of the nutritious plants from their farm which is not good for the market and sell them to the herdsmen to feed their cattles in their animal husbandries and the herdsmen can also sell to them their cattle faeces or animal waste as an organic matter for their farms to enrich the soil or they can do an exchange in terms of batter trade.
Most at times,bush fires destroys the farms of most crop farmers especially during the dry season (harmattan).The farmers can build incinerators for burning weeds.The incinerators should be away from their farms.When they gather the weeds from their farms after tilling the land they can carry the weeds in wheelbarrows to dump them at the incinerators so that they can get dry for burning.Some of the weeds can be used in producing organic matter to enrich the soil nutrients.Farmers should be advised to plant groundnuts,beans etc. on their farms in order to allow the fixing of nitrogen into the soil by these plants.
Due to rural migration to the urban cities,most farmers do not get the number of needed labourers on the farms.They need to enter into mechanized farming business by using tractors and cultivators on the farm lands to make their work easier.They normally depend on the rainfall partern to decide when to start planting and to water their farms.Farmers can be helped to build boreholes to pump water to their farms for irrigation also irrigation should be made easier for farmers whose farms are close to water bodies.The quarantine services should visit farms to help in checking and controlling of insects that destroys the crops on the farms.Farmers should build storehouses and be trained on how to preserve the crops after harvesting and also from rodents,pests and insects that will attack crops after harvesting before they are sent to the markets.
A good transport service like “Farmers Transport Union (F.T.U.)” should be developed to send the farm produce from the farms or storehouses to the market centers.When this is done the farmers will be able to get a fixed cost of transporting their goods to the markets in order to ensure a normal regular price for their goods in the markets.The roads that links to the farms and storehouses should be well built and maintained to ensure that the farm produce arrives at the markets on time for purchasing.The train transport system can be well developed in such a way that farmers will have their goods exported to other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa to ensure that they get a wider market for their farm produce.This will not allow their farm produce to easily perish for lack of purchasing in the markets.The transport system will also help to monitor their goods for most farmers complain that their goods gets lost on the way or sometimes stolen by thieves on the way.If this system is implemented most farmers will soon get richer for they will have a wider market to help reach the millennium dvevlopment goals in Africa.
Agricultural Development Banks or Microfinance Comapnies should give farmers some adequate microfinace loans to be able to boost activities on the farm like going into mechanized farming.
Poultry farms should be given training on modernized way of poultry work.They must get incubators and proper care for chicks.There should be poultry feed companies to provide poultry feeds for poultry farms.Veterinary training must be made important as to get Veterinary Officers to visit poultry farms and animal husbandries regularly to ensure that the poultry birds and cattles are in good health conditions also to train the farmers on how to keep or protect their farm animals and poultry birds from bad weather conditions.
Agricultural Departments must be able to supply seeds and fertilizers at a lower cost to farmers.
Food processing companies and food exporters must be made to buy goods from the farmers at a very good price rather than cheating the farmers.The quantity and the type of foods that are imported into the Sub-Region must be controlled in order to ensure a higher demand for the farm produce of farmers in the sub-region to make our farmers financially equipped to do more on their farms than we even expect from them.
Fishing is another aspect of Agriculture.Most fishermen in Sub-Sahara Africa fish in the old traditional way.The old canoes of most fishermen are not safe at sea and can be very dangerous although they even use the outboard motors attached to the canoes.Modern boat manufacturing companies can give their boats to most fishermen at a reasonable price for fishing.At every fishing port,there should be a cold store to ensure that fishes can be preserved at the ports and as well sold there.Plastic waste covers the fishing ports in most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa which is dangerous to sea life.Some foreigners enter into the seas at Sub-Sahara Africa to fish without lisence by using big trawlers whereby they harvest lots of fishes and little fingelings that will soon develop into big fishes.If they are not checked they might leave they might destroy the fishing industry by making it difficult to find fish in the waters.Fishing seasons should be made for fishermen to follow in order to allow fishes to grow in the sea before harvesting them.In order to ensure that the fishing season is obeyed,they can be trained on how to build fishing ponds so as to get fish to sell before the sea fishing season arrives.Fishermen should be given fuels at an affordable or reasonable price for their outboard motors.
Some fishermen and farmers encounter lots of danger,I think it will be good if they will be provided with an Agricultural Insurance Company to ensure that they get good health care,farm insurance,property insurance and a good education policy for themselves and their children.
Farmers need to motivated,appreciated and celebrated that is why we must celebrate public holidays like ‘Farmers Day’ in the sub-region.
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