Statement ably made by my Hon Colleague on the other Side.
Mr Speaker, I think it has been long overdue to have this amendment done. We all know the importance of agriculture and we know how much our farmers, even those that we may refer to as peasant farmers, suffer post- harvest losses. Sometimes when they are on the farms, they suffer some amount of losses that discourage them and it goes a long way to affect implementation, care and support for the individuals who are normally affected and they have nowhere to run to for any support.
Mr Speaker, I believe that if amendment is carried out, farmers would have a good relief of most of the issues that occur when they go to their farms.
Mr Speaker, for instance, if you observed the activities that took place when some individuals went for training at Kenya to look at the way vegetables are produced, you would realise that they had learnt a lot.
Mr Speaker, from the pictures that were produced, you would find that most of the farmers were able to produce some vegetables that are consumed locally, while other types of vegetables were also exported.
Mr Speaker, today, if I take my own constituency for instance, a lot of vegetables are being produced over there. Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, onions, pepper; both green, red and yellow are being produced in large quantities by these farmers over there. I say it is “large” because it is so much such that it cannot be consumed by only the people in that district.
At the end of the day, all those who cultivated come out into the market with these produce and they sell it at a very low price. They are not even able to pay for the fertilizers, the insecticides and the labour that they might have used to produce these vegetables.
Mr Speaker, I say this because if the insurance is put in place and the amendment is done, it would go a long way to support them so that at least, they would be able to transport these vegetables to places where they would get higher prices. During the planting season, they would also be supported to get some kind of weedicides, insecticides and what have you. If there are any losses, at least, it would be catered for.
It is very disheartening that today, one could find about a 100
kilogramme size bag; I would call it so, because it is more than a 50 kilogramme size bag of cabbage, that costs about GH¢25 to GH¢30 in Pusiga, meanwhile, they would have invested more than GH¢200 to produce that single bag. If they are involved, educated, put on board and made to understand that insurance is a safeguard for them, they would be ready to contribute, so that at the end of the day, they would realise that the contributions that they make is not for fun or on waste.
Mr Speaker, there is the need for education to be given to them to understand that it is important to have an insurance. This is because in case there are post-harvest losses, or losses during, before and after harvest, at least they would be supported. In case insects come in to destroy their farms, again, they would be supported. If this support is there, they would be ready to come on board, but without this insurance, we would always talk about how to support our farmers, but would only be able to support a few of them, while most of them would be left behind.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Hon Member who made the Statement and I congratulate him for that.