Farmers call on government to reduce tax on sesame export

Farmers call on government to reduce tax on sesame exportThe Ghana National Sesame Business Farmers’ Association (GNSBFA) has called on the Government to reduce the high taxes placed on the exportation of sesame to neighbouring countries.

The farmers, drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, made the call when Mr Abdou Fall, the Programme Manager of the Joint Action for Farmers’ Organisations in West Africa (JAFOWA), paid a working visit to inspect a-two year sesame agribusiness value chain development project in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region.

Sesame is a plant that grows in warm regions and produces flat seeds that is used for cooking and as a source of oil.

According to the GNSBFA, the considerable reduction of taxes on the exportation of sesame to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso had economically empowered farmers in those countries and ensured household food security.

Mr Julius Awaregya, the Coordinator of Organisation of Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS- Ghana), a non-governmental organisation, said between 2013 and 2015, SNV, a Netherlands Organisation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, partnered ORGIIS to support farmers to go into agro-ecological farming of sesame, which significantly impacted their livelihoods.

He said although his outfit facilitated and got more market linkages for the farmers, the high taxes imposed on exporting the crop was discouraging many buyers, making them to shift their focus to other countries where taxes were very low.

He, therefore, entreated the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to play a significant role by facilitating the reduction of taxes on sesame exports.

Mr Awaregya tasked the SADA to facilitate the procurement of sesame seed cleaning machines for farmers to help add value to the product and attract good market.

The Ghana Sesame Agri-business Value Chain Development Project is also being implemented in the Bimbilla, Cheriponi, Gushegu, Nanumba North, and Saboba districts of the Northern Region by GNSBFA, ORGIIS-Ghana and the North-Eastern Corridor Integrated Development Agency.

Mr Clifford Amoah Adagenera, the Coordinator of the Project, said it was targeting women and youth groups to help complement the Government’s efforts at addressing youth unemployment.

He said aside mobilising about 4,200 farmers, it had also organised and trained 34 district farmers across the project areas; trained association executives on agro-ecology practices; linked farmers to buying companies in Burkina Faso and Ghana, and input dealers and agrochemicals.

Three hundred women, he noted, had also been linked to tractor services at considerably reduced prices and the project beneficiaries also trained in compost making, stone bonding and contour farming.

“Women, through the project, have also learnt skills in moisture and soil fertility management, water retention and harvesting techniques and Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration,” he said.

The JAFOWA project seeks to ensure household food security and income, sustainable agriculture, human health and soil health.

It also seeks to ensure equality among male and female farmers in West Africa and influence policy and decision makers to ensure sustainable agriculture through agro-ecological farming practices, particularly in sesame production.