The Ministry of Food and (MoFA) has taken delivery of 520 tractors to support small and medium-scale farmers under the mechanisation component of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
They comprise 300 global multi-purpose mini tractors for small-holder farmers and 220 Cabrio four-wheel compact tractors for medium-scale farmers.
The Director of the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate (AESD) of MoFA, Amatus K. B. Deyang, who made this known yesterday, said the tractors would be made available to farmer groups at 40 per cent discount.
Cost of machines
He explained that at the subsidised prices, the Cabrio compact tractor for plantation farms, such as mango, oil palm and citrus, would be given to farmers at ¢125,000.
Additionally, he said, the Cabrio II compact tractors, which were for rice farming, would be sold to farmers at ¢150,000, while those meant for general farming would go for ¢127,000.
He also said crop spraying equipment, such as mist blower and boom sprayer, would be offered to the farmers at ¢16,000.
On the modalities for payment, Mr Deyang said the tractors would be released to farmers who paid 50 per cent of the cost, adding that farmer groups could contact MoFA for other special arrangements.
The AESD Director was speaking during a field trip organised by Knight a.s Transfer of Technology, suppliers of the tractors, to the Awutu Senya municipality in the Central Region, where some of the tractors were tested.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Dr Karl Laryea, led the team for the field trip.
The Awutu Senya East Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr Edward Laryea Koney; the Officer in charge of the Awutu Camp Prison, Chief Supt William Thomas Anaman, and other officials participated in the trip.
Technical staff of Knights a.s Technologies Transfer demonstrated how the tractors were used for slashing, tilling, ploughing and watering of plants.
Boost to PFJ
Mr Deyang said the tractors would be a major boost to the PFJ programme, since they would address the gaps in the production value chain.
“Under the PFJ, we have supported farmers with subsidised seeds and fertiliser, but if it comes to farm operations, it has been difficult for the farmers.
“So with these tractors, farmers will be able to carry out farm operations on time, so that they will not miss out on any stage of the farming season,” he said.
He added that the tractors meant for rice farming in particular would bring a huge relief to farmers who suffered post-harvest losses because they were unable to harvest their produce on time.
He added that the government was focused on helping farmers to make a transition from machete-and-hoe farming to mechanised farming to make them more productive.
Mr Deyang urged farmers to form cooperatives and pool resources to be able to acquire the tractors to improve on their farming activities.
Features of machines
The global multi-purpose mini tractor, a hand-held equipment for small-holder farmers, has an engine and a gear box and adjustable accessories such as a rotary tiller, a drum mower, an irrigation pump and a rotary weeder, making it a one-stop shop for farming activities.
The Cabrio compact tractors, on the other hand, have tipping trailers, rotary tillers, mulchers, rice cutters and two-disc ploughs.
Dr Laryea explained that the global multi-purpose mini tractors had a 15-year lifespan and the capacity to plough a football-size field in an hour with one litre of petrol.
He added that the company had a spare parts shop at Kaneshie where worn-out parts could be replaced.
He added that the mini tractors were specifically designed to help farmers graduate from crude farming methods to mechanised farming.
“Farmers who want to use these tractors can contact MoFA for arrangements, so that our technical staff can train them,” he said.
On April 9, 2018, Ghana signed a 20-million euro credit facility with the Export Bank of the Czech Republic to support the PFJ policy.
The money was divided into two tranches, with the first tranche being utilised for the procurement of 220 sets of compact tractors, while the second tranche was to be used to purchase 300 multi-purpose mini tractors.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and Dr Laryea signed the agreement in Brno, Czech Republic, during the opening session of the 2018 Agriculture Trade Fair Show.
At the point of signing the agreement, Dr Akoto explained that the beneficiaries would be interested small and medium holder farmers across Ghana.
Per the arrangements, the farmers were to be given four years to work and pay for the tractors.
The credit facility came with no interest payment by the farmers and no financial commitment on the part of the government.
The tractors were to be supplied by a consortium of companies, led by the Knight a.s Transfer of Technology, in the Czech Republic.