26 Oct 2015

Agriculture: A Solution To Extreme Poverty

It has always been said that about 70% of people in Northern Ghana are engaged in farming one way or the other. Most policy makers know this fact. They also know the impact it can make at minimizing rural poverty and reverting rural-urban migration. The problem, however, is the lack of willingness to take steps to ensure its viability in this area.
Agriculture
Image Courtesy of The World Bank



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We have a system of governance where budgets are drawn just for people working in a ministry. Nothing tangible is done to support struggling subsistence farmers. Governments often boast about fertilizer subsidies. What they may not know (or pretend not to know) is that such subsidized fertilizers don't often reach the targeted beneficiaries. Some of those entrusted with the sole duty of distributing fertilizers either sell them to make cash for themselves or discriminate in their distribution based on political party lines.

Many people who should know better are not willing to use their knowledge to bring the needed positive change to the situation of northern Ghana. They are busy grabbing whatever they can lay hands on, including government approved funds designated for key projects!

A case in point is the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority's (SADA) allocation whose funds were grossly misapplied and no tangible project has been completed. These were funds entrusted into the hands of people of northern Ghana extraction who were supposed to have known and seen the state of abject poverty in the area better. Up to date, the joke still remains that some of the guinea fowls that were being reared as part of the authority's projects have flown to Burkina Faso and remained there.

If we are really serious about developing agriculture, we should make it attractive in the first place by providing the basic resources needed for commercial farming. Farming machinery should be readily available at affordable prices for hiring to farmers. Fertilizers should be subsidized and made sure they reach the intended beneficiaries and not party henchmen. Over-reliance on natural rain should be revised.

Artificial rain should be possible if natural rain stops. We have an agrarian economy and must be able to invest in new technology if it would improve our economic figures and reduce food scarcity. An all year round farming season can be possible with dams and land for irrigation farming.

Last but not least, there should be ready market for farm produce all year round. With all or 80% of these in place, many youth will gladly go into farming and those already in it will expand and make better yields. In the end, poverty will be forced back into its hole.

What do you think about agriculture's role in ending extreme poverty in Africa?

24 Oct 2015

Borders: A Bother To African Unity?

The thoughts shared by most Africans is  that the white man is the cause of our numerous problems. We believe the white man's partitioning of Africa is the cause of our African disunity which I partly agree with. I think we are the cause of our own problems. How long have we been 'independent'?

The white man is no longer ruling us but the borders he erected are still there. We are those now tightening security at our various borders which the white man created. We are those still keeping the borders in place and adding more every day.


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First OAU Leaders
The African continent was not a united and properly structured one
before the dominance by the white supremacists.
By the way, was Africa united before the coming of the white man? I don't think so. If we were, we would have been able to ward off white dominance on our land when they first tried to settle on it.

How long are we going to continue to blame the white man for our problems? I think it is about time we look internally for solutions to the problems we face instead of always finding an easy way out by blaming others. If I may ask, was it the white man who taught us how to retard each others progress? Did the white man teach us greed and selfishness?


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The African man is always ready and open to the white man than a fellow black man. Meanwhile, the reverse is not true. We can't even hesitate to disclose to the white man what our next-door neighbor does which gets us vexed.

And the most interesting thing about it all is that, we now prefer to spend our holidays and weekends in the white man's land. We seek healthcare there. We go there to borrow money for petty things which we could do on our own with the right thinking and attitude. We prefer what the white man does and how he does it than our own ingenuity.

People we once labelled as being enemies are those we now go for advice on how to lead. We never consider a brilliant idea from a fellow black man unless it is backed by the white man. We are patient to listen to the white man when he talks but rude to a fellow black man.

Is the white man the cause of bad leadership in Africa? What do you think about the problem of African unity?

17 Oct 2015

The Secret Is Being Content

We sometimes worry about what we don't have without taking time to assess what it would take to have that. Instead of thanking God for what we have, we get worried about what we lack and forget that we have something valuable to thank God for.


Consider the following scenarios:



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Scenario One: Kelly And Ama

KELLY: "What I wouldn’t give to have Ama’s perfect figure! Just look at her striding majestically down the street. I’m guessing she should be about 35 yet she has the body of a 20 year old. I on the other hand look like an inflated balloon thanks to my kids. Having 3 kids took a great toll on my once amazing figure. I truly love my kids but I wish I had Ama’s figure as well."


AMA: "I get so green with envy whenever I see Kelly with her family. She has a loving husband, 3 beautiful kids and a good job. What do I have? Just a job. I have no one to come home to, no Ä·ids to call me ‘mummy’ . Almost all my friends are married with kids yet here I am, a spinster at age 36 . How I would like to be Kelly for a day, just to know what it feels like to have kids and a loving husband."

Scenario Two: Joe And Nkum

JOE: "There goes Mr.Nkum. Owner of a conglomerate- one of the country’s millionaires. Rumor has it that he is so wealthy he can can buy Maserati for all 26 million Ghanaians yet still have more than enough to last him a life time. Ha! What I could do with just a fraction of his wealth. I am the C.E.O of a carpentry shop. Yeah! even if I have only 2 workers i’m still the boss so I am a C.E.O too! I haven’t had a contract for the past 3 months. The chamber and hall I call home keeps getting smaller with the birth of each child and guess what? Baby number 6 is on it’s way. It wouldn’t hurt to be in Mr.Nkum’s shoes at all. With all that money I am certain my family and I would finally know what true happiness is."


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MR. NKUM: "You only realise how limited money is when it cannot buy life. I have barely 3 months to live and it kills me to know that there is nothing I can do to save myself. I used to think poverty was worse than death but now that death is staring at me in the face, I beg to differ. I would gladly be Joe, the carpenter down the street and live in abject poverty , rather than die. Waiting for death is worse than death itself."

Scenario Three: Jane And Ewurabena

JANE: "Months into the semester yet I haven’t been able to afford a decent weave or braids- I almost never have enough money . The worst part is that I have to constantly sit in class with Ewurabena who changes her hairstyle every 2 weeks. Goodness! Her braids look so beautiful. That must have cost at least GHC 100. That amount of money could do wonders for my hair. Really! I could braid twice (yeah, my ghetto hairdresser charges very little). This world is simply unfair!"

EWURABENA: "I am the epitome of ‘brenya’ (local slang for someone who has little hair) . It’s as though my hair grows a quarter of an inch every 6 months. Jane is so hairy! She has such silky straight hair she could sell it to the less fortunate like me. Braiding and wearing weaves all year round is hard work. The heat is unbearable! If I had such fine hair as Jane, I would never cover it up!"

Sometimes the shoes you are dying to be in are much more tighter and uncomfortable than they actually look. The grass that looks so green on the other side might just be an illusion. Nothing is perfect, we all have our challenges. Wear your own shoes and keep walking. They might get comfortable with time.