The lack of poultry feed has stalled production for members of the Welekemah Rural Women Farmers Cooperative in Sanoyea, Bong County.
Speaking to the Daily Observer recently, the head of the group, Rachida Vuku, said that many women farmers are unable to expand or develop their vegetables projects because their poultry project is down.
She said that several women who were engaged in to commercial poultry farming have ceased from production due to lack of the critical resource of poultry feed.
“The poultry farm has boosted the incomes of women as they have used the manures to improve vegetable production. But since the production slowed down as a result of the lack of feed, life is becoming difficult for many,” she said.
According to Vuku, the project has become dormant for the last three years. She said that her organization was last supported by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and they are yet to get any attention to revamp the project.
“Poultry feed is very costly and we lack the finance to buy the day-old-chicks to restart the project,” she explained.
She said that her organization is seeking for loans from the Government to enable them revamp the project.
“It shall cost us nearly US$2,000.00 to restock the facility with birds and provide care.
According to Rachida, her organization comprised of 115 registered members and 69 of the members are shareholders.
“We have the capacity to pay back loans when provided because our members are saving with the organization,” she explained.
In a related development, Rachida said that her organization is doing well with the rice processing business but stressed the need for financial assistance to purchase more paddy from farmers during this year farming season.
She said that despite the Coronavirus situation, many residents in her district have ventured into rice farming this year because the price of imported rice is increasing every day.
“Although the health restriction has limited the farmers there are several of them who are cultivating their farms and we will need money to purchase the paddy for processing,” she said.
However, Rachida said that the processing equipment capacity of the mill is gradually declining.
“When the machine was provided we used to process more than 8 metric tons of rice daily but it is now producing 3 metric tons. Many of the residents no longer pound their rice manually as they depend on this facility,” she said.
According to her, members of her cooperative have received lot of trainings in rice production from several NGOs which is making them self-reliant in food in the communities.
Meanwhile, Vuku disclosed that her organization has applied for the Ministry of Agriculture COVID-19 grant for smallholder farmers and she is hoping that they would benefit.
The MOA has introduced a US$10,000.00 grant for potential agribusinesses to access in order to mitigate the effects of the virus that have affected the lives of many smallholder farmers across the country.
Smallholder farmers have stay away from productive agricultural activities due to COVID-19 restrictions.