Monthly Archives: June 2020

Top 5 Agricultural Economics Journals –2020 Edition

From the Journal Citations Report, here is the new top 5 of agricultural economics journals:

  1. Food Policy 4.189
  2. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 3.028
  3. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 2.779
  4. Annual Review of Resource Economics 2.745
  5. Aquaculture Economics and Management 2.646

The number to the right of each journal name is the journal’s impact factor, which has been calculated on the basis of calendar year 2019 citation numbers.

On Marc F. Bellemare’s website, he indicated that “this has been a good year for the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE), which I have been co-editing since the start of the year, as our impact factor went from 2.532 to above 3.” What is especially good for the AJAE is to be back in the top two. This has also been a good year for Food Policy, which Marc F. Bellemare also co-edited with Mario Mazzocchi until June 2019. The journal’s impact factor for Food Policy went from 3.788 to above 4.

Read also: Agricultural Policies Vs Political Rhetoric: A vicious cycle in Ghanaian Political Environment

Obviously, Marc is pleased that both journals has been associated with are doing so well. He again added that “All credit goes to the co-editors I have had the honor to work with as well as our associate editors, reviewers, the publishing staff we work with, and the authors who elect to submit high-quality manuscripts to the journals.”

it is also important to note that the fact that, by impact factor, the AJAE ranks 59th and Food Policy ranks 28th across all economics journals –respectively slightly ahead of the Journal of Monetary Economics and Econometrica.

‘Bee Careful’: David Beckham Told his Kids

David Beckham shared photo of his family in beekeeping suit on his Facebook page and also a video of her daughter, Harper, dancing in beekeeping suit on his Instagram page as they tend to his homemade hive.

David and his family | photo credit David Beckham

Beckham shared a video of eight-year-old daughter [Harper] dancing in a beekeeping suit as they tended to his homemade hive.

Harper’s brothers, 17-year-old Romeo and 15-year-old Cruz also joined the father-daughter duo in a photo.

Read also: Accra City Bees Project: British High Commission and BfdG organise training workshop for its grounds workers

Taking to his Instagram page, 45-year-old David shared the sweet clip of his little girl having a boogie.

Dressed in the full protective gear, including gloves and a mask over her face, Harper looks excited to get down to business.

Harper was excited for the adventure

The video starts with the schoolgirl busting some moves, David comments: “Dancing?” before laughing as Harper flashes a peace sign.

He [David] added a photo of himself with Harper, Romeo, and Cruz all dressed in their beekeeping kits and smiling at the camera.

Also read: Promoting Sustainable Beekeeping to Alleviate Deprivation and Poverty

One of their family dogs is also in shot, jumping up to be petted by Romeo.

The former Manchester United player could not resist making a cheesy ‘dad joke’ in the post’s caption, writing: “I told the kids Bee careful 🐝 🤔 … Apparently dad jokes don’t go down so well 🙄”

Read also: Bees for Development Ghana Trains Unemployed Youth in Beekeeping

On his beekeeping journey, he also shared a snap of the wooden hive he put together earlier this month, surrounded by buzzing bees.

The bees might be happy and enjoying their new home [hive]

Last week, David shared a video of himself making a hive. David’s wife Victoria, filmed her husband as he put together the hive in the back garden of their Cotswolds mansion.

The fashion designer [Victoria] videoed David hammering nails into a wooden frame, with instructions for the build place out in front of him.

Read also: Becoming a Successful Beekeeper

Narrating in the clip, she [Victoria] explained: “And David decided to start building … beehives.”

Victoria asked: “Is that your new project darling?” to which, David replied: “It is” while fixing his new contraption together.

He said with a smile at the end of the clip: “We will be very happy when we’ve got our own honey”.

Read also: Harmony in the hive: What do bees need?

Artificial Intelligence in Precision Agriculture

Today, technology has come to replace so many human activities and notable among them is farming and other agricultural activities which takes farmers a lot of effort to achieve results.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied in modern day Agriculture and is changing the way farming and agricultural activities are done on a farm to increase productivity.

CRITAC Ghana is one of the organizations using the AI tools in various fields. They indicated that they are using sensors to gather data and this data is stored on their farm management system to allow them to better process and make analysis. The availability of this data is allowing them to deploy AI in their farming activities.

The AI tools they are working on now entail an image recognition which will help people to make detailed analysis on crops.

The application of these technologies is well developed in Europe, America and other places. This has been introduced in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa including Ghana and it is gradually progressing.

On their journey to working diligently on Precision Agriculture and Farming, they are engaging edge computing.

Related story: Women, Technology and the Future

Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth.

The origins of edge computing lie in content delivery networks that were created in the late 1990s to serve web and video content from edge servers that were deployed close to users.

In the early 2000s, these networks evolved to host applications and application components at the edge servers, resulting in the first commercial edge computing services that hosted applications such as dealer locators, shopping carts, real-time data aggregators, and ad insertion engines.

Modern edge computing significantly extends this approach through virtualization technology that makes it easier to deploy and run a wider range of applications on the edge servers.

The presence of edge computing has been felt in so many industries. Notable among them are the manufacturing, retail, healthcare industries and few to mention.

Read also: Agricultural Sustainability: How to find credit as a farmer

The use of edge computing has begun transforming the way in which farming and Agriculture is done in Ghana.

Drone on maize field

The use of technology is increasingly becoming a linkage with how infrastructure, work and people connect among themselves. This reason has however caused for the need for new innovations such as edge computing into farming and Agriculture.

Edge Computing does so many services when deployed in the field of farming such as monitoring environments, using automated systems in achieving automation, performing critical analysis of data collected and gathered on the farm, and the likes.

Read also: Ways Farmers Can Manage Risk In A Crisis

Pray that the judge will stick to the facts and the truth – Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom

The president of Groupe Nduom as asked Ghanaians to pray for his businesses as they await a verdict on their case against the Bank of Ghana before court. In a Facebook post, Dr Nduom describes their fear of government influence in the country [Ghana].

Dr Nduom writes, “I am asking everyone for your prayers. As you know, Groupe Nduom, myself included have sued government and its agencies in Ghana over the revocation of the licenses of our bank, GN Savings and investment company Gold Coast Fund Management. Together, they represent the biggest chunk of our investments in Ghana. They account for over one million customers and more than 4,000 employees direct and related. I am asking for prayers to be said by everyone so that the judge in our case against the Bank of Ghana can rely solely on the merits and facts of our motion and rule in our favor. We are asking for the restoration of our license and more importantly, the recognition that we are owed a lot of money by government agencies which if recovered will solve our challenges in Ghana. We have a good case. Our lawyer has done well to craft the facts very well. But judges are human. And in countries like Ghana where government holds the biggest influence everywhere, it takes courage to go against it. Pray that this judge Gifty Adjei-Addo will stick to the facts and the truth. We filed our suit in August 2019. And the other side has used technicalities and some tricks to delay the hearing of the substantive matter. Next week Monday, the case goes back to court. I don’t expect a final ruling on that day. But, what she does on Monday will determine what will eventually happen. So we must appeal to the higher judge above to give wisdom and courage to the judge on earth so she can do the right thing. Many lives depend on her judgment.”

At this point can only wish Dr Nduom and his businesses well.

Ridge Hospital Responds to Director of Institute of Languages’ Medical Negligence Allegation

The authorities at the Ridge Hospital are investigating circumstances surrounding the death of the wife of the director of the Ghana Institute of Languages.

In a post on Facebook, Dr Emmanuel Kuto alleged that his wife, Kafui, died after surgery at the hospital because a doctor prescribed the wrong medication for her.

In response to the post, the Medical Director at the hospital, Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh, has told Joy News that preliminary investigations have begun to ascertain the exact course of death.

He added that a committee of enquiry will probably be set up to probe Mrs Kuto’s death.

“The Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Ridge practices an open-door policy and we encourage our clients to report any misgiving or seek clarity on any clinical procedure with the Customer Service or Public Relations Units for proper management response,” he added.

Also read: Folks, last night I lost my wife at Ridge Hospital – Dr Emmanuel Kobina Kuto

Dr Kuto chronicled the events that led to the demise of his wife after she got surgery and allegedly received the wrong medications.

He revealed how he overheard a doctor reprimanding his colleague over a phone call for prescribing wrong medications for her.

“From the conversation, it was clear that the other doctor had promptly admitted to prescribing the drug. Folks, I swear by my father’s grave that my wife’s doctor said something like this; “I can’t believe you have done this again. This is the second time. This woman’s case is similar to the other one but you have done it again,” he recounted.

This was after he asked the nurses what drugs the patient was given and denied giving those prescriptions for her condition.

Emmanuel described the poor state of his wife after a surgery on Monday, June 22 which led to her severe pain and a subsequent black out.

According to him, “As our doctor was scolding the other doctor, the nurses were laughing heartily. Even the doctor was scolding his colleague somehow jokingly”.

Following this occurrence, he was directed to buy a couple more prescriptions which he did without hesitation.

However, these were not enough to save her as died three hours later. This was unknown to him until the next morning when he rushed to the hospital following a call from his sister-in-law.

He has appealed to the authorities of the hospital to ensure that this doesn’t repeat itself.

Read also: Ridge Hospital: Doctors leave towel in woman’s tummy for 9 months after C-section

Folks, last night I lost my wife at Ridge Hospital – Dr Emmanuel Kobina Kuto

In a post sighted by on Facebook narrates a terrible experience of a heartbroken husband. The Director of Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL), Dr Emmanuel Kobina Kuto,  recounts heartbreaking medical negligence at Ridge Hospital.

He starts, “Folks, last night I lost my wife at Ridge Hospital. My wife checked in at the hospital Sunday evening. She had been due for surgery Monday morning. We agreed that I would return to the hospital in the afternoon when she would have returned from the theater.

That’s how it happened. I returned to her. She narrated the experience to me. I stayed with her till 8 pm when the orderly came to ask me to leave.

When I returned the next morning, my wife had taken a turn for the worst. She was sweating profusely and was in severe pain. The change was really dramatic.

I asked her if the doctor had seen her. She said no but the nurse had given her medication early on. She asked me to take her to the washroom. By this time she was screaming in pain.

Read also: Ridge Hospital: Doctors leave towel in woman’s tummy for 9 months after C-section

I managed to sit her on the WC. But as she attempted to relieve herself she suddenly went limp and crumbled onto the floor. She was unconscious.

I rushed out to seek help. A couple of nurses came in to help. She regained consciousness but she was in a terrible shape. The next one hour was hell as there was no doctor immediately available.

After about an hour the doctor arrived. He examined my wife and asked the nurse what medication had been administered. The nurse mentioned something I don’t remember. The doctor asked if she was sure and she said yes.

The doctor then went through my wife’s folder for a few minutes. “But I didn’t prescribe that”, he [doctor] said. My heart missed a beat.

There was a back and forth between the doctor and the nurse, which attracted two other nurses.

One of the new entrants said yes, he the doctor didn’t prescribe it but another doctor did so later. The doctor said he was going to call him right now. He walked out the room followed by the nurses. I followed them into the lobby.

He picked the phone and called someone. From the conversation, it was clear that the other doctor had promptly admitted to prescribing the drug.

Folks, I swear by my father’s grave that my wife’s doctor said something like this.

“ I can’t believe you have done this again. This is the second time. This woman’s case is similar to the other one but you have done it again”.

Folks, at this point I started feeling very cold. What happened next is the reason I am writing this. But for it I would never share this on social media.

As our doctor was scolding the other doctor, the nurses were laughing heartily. Even the doctor was scolding his colleague somehow jokingly.

Yes, my wife lay dying and the nurses were laughing that a doctor that had apparently prescribed the wrong medication for her. I was not angry and I was not mad. I just felt cold. Very cold!

A lot happened subsequently as they tried to save her. They prescribed some drugs which I bought. Then they prescribed some more drugs which I bought. Then they prescribed more. Then they wanted a test done which we did. Earlier, my sister-in-law who had held the fort while I went to see the kids had also been made to buy drugs.

In the end I was left alone with my wife. At 8 pm the orderly came to ask me to leave.

Also read: Ridge Hospital Responds to Director of Institute of Languages’ Medical Negligence Allegation

I drove home filled with a huge feeling of emptiness. I could not sleep. I tossed around in bed the whole night. At around 4 am I fell asleep.

My sister-in-law was to take up the relay this morning. I was to go and teach my students and then return to replace her. We took turns taking care of my wife.

My sister-in-law called me at 6 am which is the visiting time at the hospital. I had overslept.

“Brother Imma, are you coming? The doctors want to see you immediately”.

“I am on my way”, I lied. I hurriedly jumped into a crumpled jeans and an old Lacoste. I did not bath. I did not brush my teeth. I don’t know how I drove to Ridge Hospital.

My wife died at 11 pm last night, three hours after I left her. A lady in the ward told me she collapsed and died. Just like that.

By the way, my sister-in-law told me that when she got to the ward this morning she overheard doctors and nurses arguing over “wrong medication”.

I am not angry. I am sad. Deeply sad. Indescribably sad.

Folks, let’s be clear. I have no evidence that the wrong medication killed my wife. I have requested for an autopsy.

I also appreciate the efforts made by some of the nurses to save the life of my wife. One particular nurse was very kind to me and I pray God’s blessings on her.

What I cannot accept, and why I am writing this, is that health workers find it funny that the wrong medication had apparently been administered to my wife. They were laughing. It was a joke. My wife’s life was a joke.

My wife heard the whole story unfold. How did she feel lying there listening? I kept thinking  “Is my wife’s life worth so little”?

Is that all she is worth? Can’t they see she is my wife? Can’t they see me standing there listening to them?

Now I have been thinking. I am a senior public servant, the head of a public tertiary institution. If this happened to me then I shudder to think of what can happen to an ordinary person in our country.

Folks, I am not courting sympathy. I have thought carefully before posting this.

Here is the thing:

Nobody, absolutely nobody deserves to experience this. It falls far below any idea of human decency. This should never happen again.

That is why I am calling out Ridge Hospital.

I am asking you a special favour. Please, help me call out Ridge Hospital.

It is me today. It could be you tomorrow.

Please, share my post again and again till it gets to the authorities of Ridge Hospital.

Hopefully they will sit up. Hopefully they will stop treating human life like statistics. Hopefully, they will understand that every patient is a person, a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, a cousin, a grandmother and a father that is dearly beloved by someone. Thank you.”

Read also: Beekeeping: The New A-List Trend To Get On Board With Now – James Middleton

Bono East: Traders and Farmers Cry As Watermelon Go Waste

It is a hot afternoon on Friday June, 26, where the sun and cloud are in a turf war for the sky but on the market at Techiman, Maame Serwaa, is fighting a battle of survival with watermelon glut as she stirs at heaps of watermelon at the market. This 40-year-old trader is among others who hoped to cash in on a typical market day in Techiman, but are now left counting either their loses or meagre profits.

“This is the worst season for us ever since I started trading watermelon 20 years ago. Many farmers are now growing watermelon,” she said with her hands folded across her chest and his eyes glued to the fruits piling before her.

This is an indication of a bumper harvest forcing some traders on the Techiman and Nkoranza markets to abandon their products on the market – leaving it to rot because of excessive supply and lower demand.
In all this it is the poor farmer who suffers the most as the middlemen from big commercial centres including Kumasi, Accra, Sunyani and others milk these farmers since they have no option that to sell to them and making profit in the cities.

The biggest fruit, which was between GH¢15.00 to GH¢30.00 earlier this year when you visited the same markets is now between GH¢3.00 to GH¢10.00. On the farm gate, the fruit, depending on its size and colour are between 50 pesewas and GH¢5. Along the roadside, it is between GH¢3.00 and GH¢15.00.
According to the farmers and the Bono East Regional Director of MoFA [Ms Cecelia Kegya], myaimreport spoke to, many factors accounted for this excessive supply of the produce.

A favourable weather pattern, just enough rainfall and the decision of urban dwellers to invest in vast hectares of the fruit because of previous year’s win from watermelons have been some of the reasons attributed to the surplus.

“The thing with farmers is if some make some money this year from a particular crop, then everybody wants to join the party and plant the crop in question, … hence, the watermelon situation.”

They added “the early rains as well as the fact that even farmers who previously farmed vegetables went into watermelon are some contributing factors to this year’s bumper harvest. It gives the farmers quick money. It takes less than three months for the watermelon to mature. So farms that otherwise would have cultivated other crops and vegetables also cultivated watermelon, leading to so much of the crop being produced.”

Over the years, farmers in the Techiman, Tuobodom and Nkoranza area use watermelon as an avenue to make money in preparation for the new season when they cultivate vegetables including tomatoes, cowpea and staples like yam, cassava and maize.

A drought resistant crop, watermelon needs just a small amount of rain and an early rain in April opened the door for the farmers who saw an opportunity to make quick money but the end result has not been favourable.
To get a good yield, the farmers invest at least GH¢200 per acre in land preparation, spraying and weeding.

With respect to postharvest loses, , Ghana loses between 20 and 50 per cent of all vegetables, fruits, cereals, roots and tubers produced each year, while it struggles to achieve food security and eradicate hunger – according to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation figures.

The losses are as a result of inadequate storage facilities, poor road infrastructure and the lack of ready market for most agricultural produce.
Postharvest losses are worrying situation in Ghana and the problem is as old as agriculture itself in Ghana. The statistics do not favour farmers whose best bet is selling to the consuming public with little to feed non-existing industries. Watermelon is no exception to this disturbing condition.

This is the lamentation of Mr Akwai Kyereme, who said “we [farmers] are tired, we produce so much, they [politicians] have consistently promised us a factory to process but nothing has come out of it. It is a waste of time discussing how much we lose every year because it will not amount to anything.”

The Bono East regional director of MoFA has called on the private sectors to help in the processing of raw materials from going waste. According her, the government has opened its doors to private business partners to engage in the processing factories. This way farmers and traders directly involved in agricultural produce like watermelon will be relieved of their predicaments.

The watermelon farmers in Bono East claim most of their watermelon go waste since the market women buy a big size of watermelon fruit just a cedi or even less at the farm. They added that, the farmers have to pay for the transportation fare to the nearest roadside before these women can take them wherever they so wish.

This is an unfortunate recurrent situation in the Techiman Nkoranza and its environs of the Bono East region – similar situations can be found in other part of the country. These farmers who engage in watermelon farming at times lose all their investment and find it difficult pay back their loans.

Madam Cecelia Kegya has pleaded with the farmers in the area to liaise with the Agricultural Extension Officers in various district to educate them on some of these things to avoid losses. She urged the farmers to adopt all year round farming practices which will meet the demands of their farm produce.

Promoting Sustainable Beekeeping to Alleviate Deprivation and Poverty

The Kwahu Afram Plains North District is in the northern part of Eastern Region of Ghana. The District is a remote island mostly accessible by furry, boat or canoe, with a poor road network. Despite economic growth in Ghana, inequality has been increasing in the country and poverty remains prevalent in many rural areas. The rural communities in Kwahu are suffering from high poverty rates, deprivation and under-development. One of the strongest manifestations of the level of deprivation is low-levels of education with many youngsters failing to progress beyond primary school, so further condemning them to a life of poverty.

“I went to secondary school but when I went to sit my exams I was not allowed to. I had no money to pay the exam fee. I studied hard – but now I have nothing to show for it”, Mohammed Mustafa, Bonaso, Kwahu (Feb 2019).

These people are living on the fringes of Digya National Park. Poverty forces them to exploit the Park’s resources, and men engage in honey hunting, which is against the law. This creates conflict with Park officials. Revenue from honey hunting and small-scale farming is meagre, and communities suffer from chronic poverty, poor housing and inability to pay school fees. People living on the fringes of DNP have access to rich natural resources, especially honey bees and forest.

There are already established trade pathways for honey, people are familiar with bees, and the area is suitable for beekeeping. Honey hunters have expressed huge interest in beekeeping but lack knowledge, experience and means to begin (there is no tradition of using beehives in the area). The aims for this project was to turn honey hunters into beekeepers, and to generate new revenues in order to improve their livelihoods. Women were also interested in keeping bees and honey trade.

Imagine this scenario, a poor farmer in Ghana takes out a loan (from any source) to buy an expensive top-bar hive and bees abscond or never enter (which is usual or like), he/she is burdened by a loan and with no productive means to repay. Such projects make the poor even poorer. Also, assuming Bees for Development Ghana (BfD Ghana) give away beekeeping package including top-bar hive to poor farmers and they are not able to add more hives by themselves but expert BfDG or other similar organization to bring more hives, undertaken such project could be more expensive. A top-bar hive cost about €50.

To those at BfD Ghana, such projects are not sustainable (both situation). How many people can BfD Ghana provide them with hives? How many hives per person can BfD Ghana afford? These are all important questions to ask before starting this project. People sometime fail to understand and appreciate that, it is bees that produce honey and not hives.  It is based on this that the Digya project was conceived.

BfD Ghana approached the people in the area and when we asked the community members what they expected from a beekeeping project, their initial response was that they expected to be given beehives – as they could not afford to buy them. However, later on people admitted, …

even if we had hives – then what? We do not know how to use them. We need knowledge and skills”.

BfD Ghana proposed the idea of teaching people how to make simple, fixed-comb beehives and offered to teach people how to make the hives, manage the bees and harvest the honey. Community members welcomed this proposal. The advantages of locally-made fixed-comb beehives over the top-bar or the frame hives are many.

First, anyone can make one or more – so beekeeping becomes accessible to even the poorest. Secondly, this is more sustainable approach – as it reduces donor dependency. Thirdly, it reaches more people – a relatively low investment of resources can reach many people. Fourthly, it is scalable which means once people know how to make hives they scale-up at a rapid pace if they wish. Finally, fixed-comb hives are proven to be more practical, sustainable and successful. This project is a self-sustainable one which offers practical training in beekeeping skills and as an income generation activity for its beneficiaries.

As a result, a ten-day intensive training workshop has been organised in Apesika, Bondaso and Abomasarefo for the honey hunters and other people in those communities under our Digya Project. In terms of attendance, BfdG exceeded the target of 100 people. There were 72 participants (31 women and 41 men) at Bondaso centre, 65 participants (27 women and 38 men) at Apesika centre, 66 participants at Abomasarefo Center (45 men and 21 women). At the end people from about 10 communities were trained.

The participants were taking through topic such as (1) making fixed-comb hives from local materials, (2) baiting, setting hives and maintaining them and (3) protecting apiaries from bush fire (this was very important because bush fire is very common in the area) and other pests of bees. The training workshop involved theory and practical training on the above stated topics.

We can report that the participants have successfully made fixed-comb hives from Borassus palm logs, palm fronds, bamboos, forest vine, grasses and banana leaves. They can successfully select and prepare site for an apiary, and bait hives using locally available materials such as bee wax, lemon grass, citrus fruit peels and leaves, and other herbs. They can also set hives on stands and in the branches of trees in an apiary and maintain them as well as protect them against bush fire, ants and other pest of bees. Many wonderful ideas or methods for protecting the hives were discussed and agreed on during the workshop by the participants. There was also a discussion of the characteristics of the bees – what they like and dislike, when to work on them and when not to among others.

Apicultural Development Coordinator of BfD Ghana indicated confidently that this project is already a success though it is early days yet. BfD Ghana have this conviction because it was observed that, the participants got deeply involved and assembled all the training materials including Borassus logs they had hollowed out and made ready for completion. Some of the participants had gone ahead of the workshop to obtain pieces of Borassus palm logs, hollowed them out ready for further instructions to complete these as bee hives. One interesting example was, Isaka Konde in Bondaso who got ready 35 hollowed Borassus palm logs! Some of them shared their impressions during the training and expressed their excitement about the start of this project. For example, “we are happy because we can now make more money using cheap means to take care of our children, especially their education”.

The Future of this Project

This workshop saw a blend of different age groups coming together to learn beekeeping that they believe will help see an improvement their livelihoods. It is our hope that the knowledge they have acquired will spread to other communities in Kwahu Afram Plains of Ghana and help improve their livelihoods as well.

The presence of the young ones at the workshop gave us hope for the sustainability of this project. Something interesting happened – i.e. seeing these kids observing what was happening during the workshop. The children were amazing as they keenly observed what was going on and there and then tried their hands on building hives on their own. In fact, these kids paid critical attention to details of our discussion from the beginning to the end.

The aim of promoting sustainable beekeeping in Kwahu Afram Plains, Ghana, to alleviate deprivation and poverty would be realized after seeing what these kids did during the workshop. The future and sustainability of this project can be seen in these kids.

At the end of an intensive training week, the workshop was ended with high hope that the participants were going to make good use of the practical knowledge transferred to them. BfD Ghana also hope participants will build upon the knowledge acquired at the training workshop. BfD Ghana again motivated and encouraged them and tasked them to work collectively to develop the beekeeping potentials of the area. The participants were poised for action to make sure they succeed and improve their livelihood. It is also imperative to note that the participants are well motivated and are working so hard to start beekeeping. The workshop was very successful and 203 people were trained in the end.

If you are touched by this piece and would want more people to be trained, do not hesitate to contact Bees for Development Ghana through or @BfdGhana on twitter and they will be glad to accept your donations. Together we can help improve the livelihoods of these disadvantaged people.

Impact of COVID-19 on Small-scale Farmers in Ghana

It’s Monday morning and I have to get ready for the day’s activities. I have five calls to master beekeepers I supervise to get me some data I need for my report. I checked my mail as usual to see if I have receive any. Lo and behold I had received a mail from Monmouth, UK asking me to get some information for our upcoming project.

I grabbed my phone and back pack. I put on my spectacles and face mask as has become a new normal – security officials in town may harass you if you are without face mask.  I hopped onto my motorbike and left home to seek for some fact to respond to the mail I received.

As I got to Offuman junction in Tuobodom, Bono East Region, many small-scale farmers have gathered there looking for means of transport to their various farms. Suddenly, I heard some noise from the crowed so I got close. They were fighting over a space in the bucket of a pickup car so they could get to their farms – the only reliable means of transport available apart from motorbike.

Read also 1Household, 1Garden Initiative introduced to ensure Food Security During Covid-19 and Beyond

Upon asking, they told me they had to observe physical distancing whiles on board and so people are fighting to board before others – the bucket could only pick few people other than it used to pick when there was no pandemic. This struck me and decided to find out from these farmers what has been the impact of this deadly pandemic on their livelihoods.

Before I continue, let me give a brief background to this pandemic I am talking about. The novel coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19 is not just a threat to human race (loss of life) but also poses greater risk to the livelihoods of millions of people. Many Ghanaian small-scale farmers are currently losing greater part of their household income as COVID-19 continues to disrupt major activities in agriculture and the food supply chain.

The COVID-19, a pandemic that came upon our land in March 2020, has made people resorting to lives that otherwise were never used to – such as wearing face masks, avoiding handshakes and hugs, among others. As at today June 25, 2020, Ghana has confirmed nearly 15473 cases of COVID-19 with 95 deaths.

In an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the government of Ghana imposed a number of measures, which include banning all social gatherings; the closure of schools, colleges and universities; and the imposition of restrictions on movements of people in a partial lockdown.

Although necessary, these impositions have adversely affected a major sector of the economy i.e. the agricultural and agribusiness sector. Some of which includes disruptions in transportation, hampered supply chain in agriculture and decreased demand for agricultural and agribusiness activities. These disruptions are obviously slowing down growth in agriculture and agribusiness in Ghana.

Read also Crops beyond cocoa offer revenue and diversification for Ghana’s agriculture sector

Back to my story! After chatting with some of the farmers, I decided write this article. I must say this is my first non-scientific article I have written. I realized from our chat that transportation is a major issue as many of these small-scale farmers use motorbike to and from the farms.

Some of them mostly depend on colleagues to get to their farms but due to the coronavirus they are not allowed to carry other people on the bike. People have to either walk long distances or find money (they do not readily have) to use public transport – the fare has also been increased since drivers have been ordered to reduce the number of passengers on board to observe physical distancing.

Millions of small-scale farmers in Ghana grow fruits, vegetables and various cash crops like cocoa and cashew that are sent to America, Europe, China and others. Presently, exports of these products have halted in the past few months as all borders are closed or restricted around the world. In an interview with an exporter, he said to another news portal that “we are not doing anything now”.

Again, the closure of borders has limited farmers’ access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides/weedicides, farm tools and equipment as well as restricted access to local and international markets. For example Kojo Mensah a small-scale farmer in Tuobodom told a friend of mine that “I am not even sure whether we will have farm inputs this year”.

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This uncertainty coupled with fear has subsequently impacted negatively on planting decisions which will eventually lead to a reduction in the volume of the some agricultural produce in food production areas in Ghana. Also, the closure of local weekly markets in some communities is mostly devastating for small-scale farmers as they depend on sale made during these market days.

COVID-19 has made small-scale farmers to slow down or in some cases abandon their farm work completely. For example Afia Boakyewa in Traah near Techiman told me that “we cannot go anywhere; our husbands cannot travel into cities to buy inputs like hoes, cutlasses, pesticides, or fertilisers for our farms because we are afraid of contracting the virus”. The above narration will affect the production level and farmers’ productivity this year if the situation continues.

Other evidence of COVID-19 impact is in the cashew sector. Cashew which is a major export cash crop in Ghana that generates between US$378 million and US$981 million annually for Ghana, has been hard hit by COVID-19, causing huge losses for its growers. They have already seen prices drop from US$130 for a 100 kg bag of raw cashew nuts to just US$75 this year.

Cashew grower Kofi Ameyaw lamented when I engaged him saying “we are forced to sell at a lower price”. In addition, India, China and Vietnam, largest importers of cashew, have cut orders as their processing factories close due to lockdowns imposed and this has led to a glut, forcing the international market price of the commodity to slump by 63 percent since January 2020.

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Same can be said about Ghana’s most important cash crop, cocoa, which its international market price continue to fall. Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, a government agency that buys cocoa beans from small-scale farmers and sells on the international market has indicated (in an interview with a news portal that, “Immediately COVID-19 has brought to Ghana a deficit of almost US$1 billion and if this thing should continue, paying our farmers will be difficult.”

In addition, there is reduced imports of raw materials for the manufacturing sector and petty trading items, especially from Ghana’s main trading partner, China – importers could not travel to bring in these items. This has led to lost jobs due to the fact that farmers who earn extra income from petty trading could not obtain supplies.

Also, loss of jobs especially in the service sector (hotels, airports, restaurants, local chop bars). Some people I spoke indicated their family members who work in these areas have lost their jobs and support or remittances to them from these working family members were cut/reduced.

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This has affected their farming activities since they depend on the support from these relatives for their farm inputs.  The marketing of general agricultural produce has suffered as bulk buyers form urban areas could not easily travel to buy food items from producers (small-scale farmers).

The purchasing power of people is descending coupled with reduced money in circulation – in actual fact the general economic activities have reduced, and these small-scale farmers are not spared.

The above impacts, already being experienced by small-scale farmers, are expected to linger on especially when the world has not been able to find any lasting solution to this pandemic. Until a drug or vaccine is found, these small-scale farmers will continue to be affected heavily by the novel coronavirus.

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