Farmers Empowerment in South Africa and Ghana
Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in South African countries. It contributes to the growth of economies and is relevant in eradicating problems like hunger and lack of sustainability. Because of this, much needs to be done to ensure farmers have what they need for the sector to thrive.
The following is a summary of the challenges currently facing farmers:
- A lack of irrigation equipment
- Access to the proper technology
- Poor harvest yields due to drought and flooding
- A lack of adequate fencing on farmland to prevent theft
- A rise in the theft of farm animals
Climate change is an inevitable and pressing issue every nation is currently striving to combat. Some countries have implemented innovative technological schemes to tackle climate change and the subsequent environmental issues. South African farmers, however, have not had the same opportunities to receive assistance when dealing with harsh weather conditions.
The effects of climate change have compromised food security, especially for small farmers whose lives are also dependent on crop production. The agricultural sector has also been severely affected due to its vast size and contribution to South Africa’s economy. When the primary source of food is impacted by climate change, farmers experience extreme hardships. These include severe water stress, droughts, reduced soil moisture, stunted crop growth, and a drastic reduction in non-irrigation agricultural methods.
Even when some farmers fled from these hostile conditions and migrated to more favorable locations, they still experienced additional difficulties. Studies have found that migrant farmers lack the social and agricultural resources to succeed in isolated communities. These deficits hindered their production and exposed them to abusive, discriminatory practices in the host communities.
The combination of a public sector monopoly on seed supply and the inability of institutions to properly curb industry abuses are widely acknowledged as a key reason for the agricultural sector’s poor performance. Despite liberalization and other reform initiatives, access to better seed types has still remained a barrier for several nations. In addition, access to improved seed varieties is a significant constraint on many countries. Ghana has enacted a seed law to boost the supply of enhanced crop varieties to farmers through the private sector. Despite this, there is still a chronic shortage, which pimples that poor governance issues in the seed industry persist.
Lack of Access to Technology
Integration of technology has been a prominent asset to the agricultural industry for a long time. Technology proliferation has also made the adoption of mobile phones a part of all economic sectors. Agriculture and farmers are no exception. However, farmers are often not granted the opportunity to use or gain access to new technology.
According to research conducted by Miskaki, Apiola, and Gaiana, farmers have trouble gaining innovative information to avoid poor decision-making during critical farming phases. Small-scale farmers commonly use mobile phones to obtain information to enhance agricultural output, eradicate plant diseases, and build better marketing strategies. But farmers’ chances of gaining access to both mobile phones and data are hampered due to asymmetric information dissemination. Lack of market involvement is a prevalent characteristic of farmers worldwide. A study by Bie’nabe and Vermuelen (2011) also identifies it as a direct barrier to their growth. Because of these limitations, developing farms in South Africa’s impoverished rural areas find it challenging to engage in commercial marketplaces.
The issue is further compounded by the fact that the abundance of data is provided to traders. The cost of market searching impedes smallholders’ range of services, which engenders a lower response to market changes. While there are certainly notable positive impacts in the use of mobile phones among farmers, the internet connection on most farms is not stable. In addition, there is a lack of trust and transparency when farmers use mobile phones to access farming information. Along with the low level of education among this population, proper technology training for farmers is a critical need that should be bolstered.
What is CSWOI Doing?
Roads, communications networks, and farming equipment all need to be upgraded since they currently impede developing farmers from promoting their operations. Farmers’ communities should also be subsidized with fencing. Irrigation equipment for crop producers is essential for horticulture as water is the basic requirement. Farmers stated their output was limited due to a lack of tractors, plows, and other types of cultivation equipment. The majority of respondents said they utilize these tools when needed with the limited funds they have. As a result, those who had them used obsolete, low-quality tools.
Francis Asomaning founded CSWOI after noticing these gaps in the agricultural sector. He believes that this sector could help youth in terms of employment to make the country’s economy better. Along this vein, Asomaning introduced a farmer’s empowerment campaign to ensure that farmers get the help they need to succeed.
At CSWOI, we strive to equip farmers with proper knowledge and empower them to engage their communities. We have them highlight the importance of their work to build morale. CSWOI has developed support systems to share vital information about climate change to enable local farmers to respond to climate threats.
The Individual Farmers Empowerment program will provide more employment opportunities for young people, increase food security and establish financial freedom. On December 26th, 2020, CSWOI visited individual farmers who struggled with their farms due to the lack of funding in Tembisa, North Johannesburg. Due to the global pandemic, our efforts were temporarily halted until June 10, 2021. During the six-month time lapse from COVID-19, the farmers had worked hard in vain and received nothing for their work.
CSWOI has personally witnessed some of the issues mentioned above, such as the lack of irritation and rain. Many maize crops could not be harvested in time for this reason. Some farmers lacked facilities. Others required transportation. We know that farmers and their families are suffering. That is why we appeal as an organization to the world to help us in our effort to aid individuals, farmers, and youth in agricultural skills empowerment.
We would love to have you join us to onboard and empower these farmers. With your help, the families can work towards building a better, more fruitful yield. This will empower not only their lives but also that of their communities.
We recently visited some of the youth and female farmers. We discovered they are still interested in working with us to help them with agricultural skills development. Some even said that they have failed in their farm projects due to the aforementioned situations, but they have no choice but to continue pushing forward.
We appeal to the world to come to our aid in these difficult times so CSWOI can serve as a Public Benefit Organization. Without the help of global communities, it is impossible to proceed with such projects that benefit humanity and society!