Thursday, January 26, 2023

“We are losing our sources of livelihoods”…. some peri-urban farmers lament

Some peri-urban farmers in Accra have lost their sources of livelihood to urban developments including real estate, churches and shopping malls.

The situation had rendered them jobless with others relocating to other parts of the country for menial jobs.

Narrating his challenges to this reporter in, a farmer, Abubakar Mohammed said he has been farming along the Accra-Tema motorway for more than 20 years.

He said some of his farm produce included cabbage, cucumber, maize, lettuce and green pepper.

He mentioned that where he nurses his seedlings before transplanting them have currently been fenced awaiting construction adding that “I do not know when they will come and start construction and I am not comfortable at all.”

Mr Mohammed indicated that his colleague farmer, Ibrahim Yakubu has lost his source of livelihood to a church and have relocated to Pokuase in search of menial jobs.

He said Yakubu is a husband of two wives and a father of seven children have again started farming on small piece of land after doing menial jobs for a while.

Speaking to an agronomist, on the plight of peri-urban farmers, Mr Daniel Baisie said, a survey conducted by his outfit, Eco Index Agro Solutions Limited, revealed that there were over 400 peri-urban farmers in Accra.

He said these farmers were situated at Adjei-Kojo, Adjirigano, Dzorwulu, Nima, Roman Ridge, Korle-Bu and on either side of the Accra Tema motorway.

He said these farmers have contributed immensely to the food basket of the country with the production of leafy vegetables and herbs which were readily available at the markets.

Mr Baisie said these farmers were closer to the markets and that it takes few hours to have vegetables in the markets although others were being transported from other regions in the country.

Mr Baisie indicated that the size of the farms of the peri-urban farmers continue to reduce and not having much space to grow their vegetables due to developments of estate developers and other individuals.

Mr Baisie said according to the plan of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Authority (SPLUA), there were some spaces meant for peri-urban farming activities with other spaces also meant for green belt.

“So, some of these spaces don’t need to be touched no matter the development ongoing whether from government or individual,” he added.

He said unfortunately such development had affected the work of these farmers thereby making difficult for them to produce enough food and had contributed to food shortage and food price hikes.

“Our peri-urban farmers are losing their farms to churches because churches are now trying to push their way through to have space located at strategic areas where they can put up their building and make money,” he stated.

He called on SPLUA to ensure that places designated for peri-urban farming are not used for other development and also see to it that development projects are spread across the country and not concentrated in a particular location.

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