Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, the Catholic Bishop of Sunyani, has reiterated the need for a farmers’ pension scheme to curtail rural-urban migration.
He said most farmers in the rural areas did not receive enough money for their toils.
This, he said, had contributed to the youths of those areas feeling reluctant to stay over to grow cocoa or farm generally.
“They have seen the fate of their fathers and other family members who spent all their lives farming without any insurance and security covering their lives,” he said.
Most Rev. Gyamfi made the call in an interview in Sunyani following remarks during a memorial lecture organised by the Busia Institute for Rural and Democratic Development in memory of Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, the Prime Minister of the Second Republic of Ghana.
The Bishop called on politicians to adopt the late Prof. Busia’s legacy to bridge the gap between the rural and urban areas.
“The best thing politicians can do is to continue Prof. Busia’s agenda of developing rural areas, I believe if Busia were alive all Cocoa farmers would have been placed on Social Security,” he said.
Most Rev. Gyamfi hoped rural-urban migration of the youth could be curtailed if the government was able to introduce a pension scheme for cocoa and other cash crops farmers to serve as a form of motivation for the youth.
He said the government’s ability to provide the necessary resources like mechanised boreholes and small dams for irrigation to complement the water from natural sources like rainwater, streams and rivers would motivate farmers since there would be readily accessible water for farming activities.
“Drilling boreholes with the use of solar panels to pump water for farmers to irrigate their farms would ensure that there is adequate water to farm for two or three farming seasons throughout the year, depending on the type of crop such as vegetables, cereals and legumes”, Most Rev. Gyamfi emphasised.
He said, “in advanced countries, the governments subsidise agriculture activities and there is insurance no matter how much a farmer produces at a certain level and if there is crop failure, the farm has been insured, so the farmer does not go bankrupt”.
He, however, observed, “farmers in Ghana, particularly those cultivating cocoa are feeling cheated that they have not been paid what’s due them over the years.”
He said this had contributed to the youth’s lack of interest in taking up farming as a profession and migrating to the urban areas for unavailable jobs.
Most Rev. Gyamfi stated job security was not assured in most rural communities because “finding jobs in such areas is not that simple.”
In that regard, he argued ‘the future is always bleak for the rural jobless people since one knows that there is no financial security for one in future”.
Most Rev. Gyamfi called on the government to implement policies that would promote agriculture jobs and financial security in future to make the sector more attractive to the youth, especially those in rural communities.