Monthly Archives: August 2020

Video: Ronaldinho releases trailer of new documentary, thanks fans for support during jail stint

The Brazilian legend, Ronaldinho, has thanked fans for their support during his Paraguay prison stint and released the teaser of the documentary based on his life.

Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho has had a turbulent past few months since he was caught in a passport scam in Paraguay.

The former Barcelona star spent nearly six months in the country behind bars with his brother Roberto de Assis Moreira.

The Ronaldinho fake passport case did not go to trial after both brothers paid compensation and returned to Brazil last week.

Read also Lionel Messi snubs coronavirus testing at Barcelona amid his exit

Speaking of the Ronaldinho jail stint, the 2002 World Cup winner said that it was a difficult phase in life and thanked god as it ended last week.

During the Ronaldinho jail stint, fans continued their support of the former AC Milan star, and the 40-year-old thanked his fans for the same.

The 40-year-old said that he did not have words to express his gratitude, and thanked all the affection he received in the last few months.

The Brazilian legend also launched the teaser of the Ronaldinho documentary in the interview. The Ronaldinho jail stint has not affected the Barcelona legend’s jovial nature, with the Ronaldinho documentary titled ‘The Happiest Man in the World’.

The 40-year-old said that the Ronaldinho documentary tells the story of his life and how football is “the great love of his life”.

Read also Football must give back: Nemanja Matic explains why players must give back

Ronaldinho said that when he has the ball, the world stops for him and there is nothing else he thinks of while releasing a picture of him as a child trying keepy-uppies.

It remains to be seen whether the biopic will cover the infamous Ronaldinho fake passport scandal, which placed him under arrest for almost six months.

Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto was freed with a criminal record after he pleaded guilty to using a false document and was handed a suspended prison sentence.

The brothers paid around £153,000 in compensation, with the Barcelona legend covering around £68,000 of it. The duo was arrested on March 6 after their doctored passports falsely showed they were naturalised Paraguayan citizens.

Ronaldinho was facing a two-year prison sentence, but the current settlement offered the chance to pay compensation and avoid trial as part of a ‘Salida procesal’ under Paraguayan law.

Ronaldinho celebrated his 40th birthday in prison, and celebrations were at a bare minimum with fellow inmates.

Watch the trailer in the video below:

Source: Republic World

‘I know I’m the Artiste of the Year’ – Kofi Kinaata

Ghanaian multiple award winner at the just-ended 2020 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), Kofi Kinaata, believes he is the true Artiste of the Year even though he did not win the much-coveted prize.

“I know I’m the Artiste of the Year. It was just on the plaque [for Kuami Eugene] but I knew it’s mine, Kofi Kinaata,” he said.

The people’s favourite artiste from Takoradi in the Western Region who picked three out of four nominations said says he deserved the ultimate.

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

“I wanted everything,” was his response when DJ Reuben asked the ‘Things Fall Apart’ hitmaker his expectations going into the awards on Luv FM’s Oseikrom Top Ten Chart show, Sunday.

Kinaata who wouldn’t say he was disappointed was, however, quick to add that “It could have been me too.”

“Looking at the year under review, it was Kofi Kinaata. I know my songs are the best,” he added.

He urged his fans not to be disappointed as it’s a competition and he will work hard to make them proud.

“Majority of Ghanaians will say is Kofi Kinaata but aside the judges, anything can happen,” he consoled his fans.

Read also Kofi Kinaata sets a new VGMA record

Climate Change Resilience programme: 60,000 Ghanaian farmers to benefit via training

Sixty thousand farmers across the country are expected to be empowered in a Climate Change Resilience programme through a nationwide climate change mainstreaming training.

The move is an initiative of the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

This is being done by training 150 persons constituting 80 smallholder farmers and 70 value chain drivers, across Ghana for onward skill dissemination to the beneficiary farmers.

At a two-day stakeholder meeting in Kumasi, Climate Change Adaptation Manager of GASIP, Dr Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso, says the workshop is meant to create Climate Change mainstreaming champions.

“Last year we worked with 60,000 farmers and can’t bring them all here, so we brought the people that we see as leaders to be able to translate what we are doing to the smallholder farmers.

At the end of the day, we believe these trainings will go to impact the 60,000 farmers while they are empowered to serve as climate change champions and focal contacts in terms of climate change issues at their respective operational areas.”

Read also Investment in irrigation and technology supports Ghana’s agriculture sector

The workshop under the theme, ““BUILDING CHAMPIONS IN AGRIBUSINESS VALUE CHAINS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENCE”, was for Agribusinesses, Smallholder Farmers and the Media on climate change resilience measures.

It is meant to build their capacity on the climate change subject as well as help especially farmers to lead the climate change solution drive.

The workshop also ensured that the commercial business partners and their farmers came to a common understanding of climate change, common concepts in climate change adaptation, and the terminology in climate information.

“It will build a network of climate change champions and focal contacts through whom virtual and other forms of climate change training and capacity building can be channelled.

And they will understand climate information, future changes in climate, and implications for changes in hazards and risk, possible impacts, and identify situations they can cope with and others that they have to adapt to.”

GASIP National Programme Coordinator (NPC), Mr Klutse Kudomor, reiterated the need for participants to understand the strategies and policies that will help reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere either by cutting down on emissions or increasing their capture.

He further emphasized that, “if we were to succeed in building champions, the Commercial Business Partners were the front-liners to the Farmer Based Organization (FBOs) and GASIP is structured to work through these business partners and the FBOs.”

Read also Ghana’s Cocoa Seed Garden gets a boost as MEDA completes 28.3 hectares Automated Drip Irrigation Projects

From a 25 percent disbursement in May 2019 of the ASAP Grant for Climate Change related activities, about 70 percent has so far been disbursed in June 2020.

As a result, many training sessions for agricultural agents have been carried out across the country with over 53 Commercial Business Partners and over 1000 Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) members.

This year the target to access funds is about 60,000.

“GASIP has done a lot so far for smallholder farmers, I believe it would grow from strength to strength. The sky is the limit,” Mr. Kudomor added, revealing that a new phase of the project with new activities is in the offing.

Climate Smart Agriculture

The workshop was meant to take farmers and value chain drivers through the concept of climate-smart agriculture.

Officials at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture says the move is also part of measures to implement the national climate change policy through the climate-smart agriculture and food security action plan.

Senior agricultural officer in charge of climate change and natural resource management at the ministry, Kingsley Agyemang, is positive this initiative critical to cushion farmers from the shocks of uncertainty in the cultivation of their yields.

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

“By this, we talk about the need to improve soil structure and fertility. We have taken the participants through a number of strategies that they can do on their farms to help improve soil moisture content and for that matter the structure”, Mr Agyemang said.

Both the farmers and the value chain drivers were also taken through the need for Climate Information Services.

The Director of Crop Services at the ministry, therefore, advised that as much as possible they (farmers and VCD) must access weather information services either from the private sector or the Ghana Meteorological Agency to help them make informed decisions about their farming.

Mr Agyemang added that “with this information, they would be able to determine what time to prepare their lands, which crop variety you should cultivate and with this, you would minimize cost and maximize profit because you (farmer) know of a certainty what you are supposed to do to make money, have food and above all improve your livelihood”.

There have been calls for the spread of conservational agricultural practices to farmers in the face of the harsh impact of climate change on farmers.

Founder and Director for the Centre for No-Till Agriculture, Opanin Dr Kofi Buah, explained to the participants the need to seek expert advice when deciding on what form of practice to employ on their farms. This is to help them increase productivity as well as enhance farm yields while mitigating the impact of climate change.

Participants were from Bono East, Eastern, Oti , Ashanti, Central, Greater Accra, Volta, and Western regions.

Read also GARDJA calls for speedy operationalisation of cocoa farmers’ welfare fund


GASIP’s Progress

GASIP’s goal is to contribute to sustainable poverty reduction in rural areas of Ghana and its development objective is to enhance the profitability and climate change resilience of agribusinesses and smallholders.

It is a national programme for a period of six years implementable through two cycles of three years each which became effective in May 2015 and is scheduled to be completed on 30 June 2021 and closed on 31 December 2021.

Latest GASIP supervision mission (SM) findings in December 2019 suggested that GASIP has partnered with 53 VCDs which in turn have partnered with 1,200 FBOs mainly for producing rice, maize, soya, cassava and some vegetables across all the major agroclimatic zones in the country.

GASIP has supplied USD 13.6 million as matching grant support to the beneficiaries to ensure their access to quality and timely inputs through the VCDs.

GASIP’s Crop Yield Surveys have also suggested that the beneficiaries have experienced over 70 percent increase in yield due to good quality and timely access to the inputs followed by regular technical guidance by the VCDs and government extension staff during the season.

The SM also reports that GASIP has achieved 60 percent financial progress almost entirely in a single year (2019) indicating the high level of responsiveness and demand for GASIP services by FBOs through private sector VCDs.

Read also Agricultural productivity in Africa BOOSTED BY $400m freximbank support

Tomato Glut: Farmers in Wa lament over lack of market for produce

armers in the Wa municipality and other adjourning districts in the Upper West Region have are worried about the lack of market for their produce.

The past few weeks have seen markets in the Wa municipality flooded with the produce resulting in the drastic reduction of prices of the commodity.

Read also Tomato producers make gains as border closure halts importation from Burkina Faso

JoyNews‘ Upper West Regional correspondent, Rafiq Salam reports that the locals are taking advantage of the drop in prices to stock up.

But the traders are not enthused about the impact the glut is having at their expense.

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

One of the traders stated, “Farmer will struggle then at the end of the day they will not get market for their products. The government should take the opportunity of establishing a factory that will capitalise on this to buy all the tomatoes.”

Read also Food productivity bounces back strongly in Ghana after COVID-19 restrictions

According to them, there should be a factory to process the produce to prevent losses and also add value to it.

They also believe the move will encourage the youth to venture into agriculture.

Read also Investment in irrigation and technology supports Ghana’s agriculture sector

Football must give back: Nemanja Matic explains why players must give back

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has spoken passionately about footballers giving back to their local communities, having grown up in challenging conditions in Serbia.

The 32-year-old is immensely proud of his country and speaks warmly about his hometown of Sabac, yet he knows that improvements can be made and particularly for young children there today.

During his episode of Manchester United’s Podcast, Matic talks about his own tough upbringing in Serbia and shockingly reveals how his school did not have toilet facilities, forcing the pupils to go into the woods instead.

Nemanja’s formative years were also spent playing football on a gritty pitch next to a cemetery and, as the gentle giant points out, his help can ensure the next generation doesn’t see such hardship.

Read also VGMA 2020: Asante Kotoko congratulates Kuami Eugene for winning 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year

“I don’t like to speak about my charity, my help, mostly for the kids,” explains Nemanja. “When I grew up I didn’t have the pitch to train on, the pitch was horrible – next to the cemetery. That was not a pitch, they just put the goals and the lines there and they called it a pitch!”

“So I wanted to make a good pitch for kids, so that they can train, that they can improve. If someone wants to play football then they have good conditions.”

“And of course I wanted to help the school, it is most important to have a good school. When I was in school we did not even have a toilet in the school. You had to go outside somewhere in the forest!”

“I felt like it is my obligation because the kids there, they deserve to have better conditions for everything, for school, for training and a playground for small kids. So I try to help them.”

“I will do that because I can. We have to be honest, at United, Chelsea or Arsenal for example, we earn a lot of money and some of that money we need to spend for the future, because many of those kids will be future stars and they have to do the same one day.”

Matic is currently preparing for his fourth season as a United player and, as we revealed on Saturday night, the tough-tackling midfielder feels confident about challenging for the Premier League title.

Nemanja hopes this campaign will be his best so far and he knows it will be followed closely by the club’s passionate fanbase in Serbia, where only two other teams have more supporters in his opinion.

“I have to be honest and say United in Serbia is very popular,” Matic explains. “It is probably, after Red Star and Partizan, the third club. If you look at how many supporters they have, Red Star is number one, Partizan is second and United is third.”

Read also Wayne Rooney condemns English FA’s handling of Harry Maguire

“I always liked United especially when Nemanja Vidic was playing here. He is from Serbia, he lives not far from my house in West Serbia, so we always supported him.”

“When I got the opportunity to come here I wanted to play for United, for probably the biggest club in England and one of the best clubs in the world. We can say maybe Real Madrid, Manchester United and maybe Bayern Munich. For me that’s the three biggest clubs in the world.”

“It was easy to make the decision. I don’t want to say that I was not happy at Chelsea, of course I was happy, but I thought it was the right time to move. As I said, when you get the chance to go and play for Manchester United I think that you have to use that.”

Elsewhere in his UTD Podcast, which is available in full from 17:00 BST on Monday, Matic explains his love for playing at Old Trafford and says our stadium has something different to other venues.

“To play at Old Trafford, if you play for United or you play for other teams, it is always special,” Nemanja states. “When you step on the pitch, for me it is the best stadium in the world. You can see it has some history. It has something different to other stadiums.

“I have to say Tottenham’s new stadium is great. A lot of new stadiums, they look good, but Old Trafford has something different and I hope that they can keep it like that. It is always special.

“For me, when I played against United for Benfica or for Chelsea, it was always good motivation. It was always high because you want to do your best against United to show your quality. So I know exactly how the other teams feel when they play against us, especially at Old Trafford.

“That’s why we need to know that they will always give their best. They want to show their quality, and their motivation against us is always bigger then when they play against other clubs.”

Source: MUFC

Read also Lionel Messi snubs coronavirus testing at Barcelona amid his exit

Lionel Messi snubs coronavirus testing at Barcelona amid his exit

Lionel Messi has followed through on his threat and not turned up for the start of preseason as he continues to push for a move away from Barcelona.

The Barca players were due in for coronavirus tests on Sunday ahead of Monday’s first training session since Ronald Koeman was appointed as coach.

Messi was due at 10.15 a.m. CET but did not show up. Sources had told ESPN that Messi planned to skip Sunday’s meeting.

Messi, 33, has been advised by his legal team that taking part in preseason for the 2020-21 campaign would compromise the claim that he was able leave for free at the end of 2019-20.

Read also VGMA 2020: Asante Kotoko congratulates Kuami Eugene for winning 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year

Barca received a burofax to that effect from Messi last Tuesday. The Argentine forward said that he was using a clause that allowed him to unilaterally terminate his contract at the end of the season.

The Catalan club say the clause expired in June and any club that wants to sign Messi will have to pay his €700 million release clause — although reports in the local media now suggest that clause may not be active in the final year of his deal. His contract, signed in 2017, expires next summer.

Messi and Barca are now facing the possibility of a legal standoff over the clause as he continues to insist that he is free to quit the Camp Nou this summer.

Barca, meanwhile, could look to take disciplinary action against Messi for Sunday’s no-show, as they did with Arthur Melo last month. Sources have also said Messi will not attend individual training on Monday.

Read also Wayne Rooney condemns English FA’s handling of Harry Maguire

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu responded to Messi’s burofax by offering to quit. Sources told ESPN earlier in the week that Bartomeu would step down if Messi announced publicly that he was the problem and he would stay if he resigned.

The Messi camp did not respond to Bartomeu’s pledge but did request a meeting with the president. No meeting has yet taken place.

Messi’s desire to leave is rooted in problems on the pitch — especially failings in the Champions League since 2015 — and off it, where he’s clashed with the board over a number of issues. He has not spoken in public about the reasons why he wants out yet but sources say he will do when the time is right.

Manchester City remain in pole position if he does leave. ESPN explained on Friday the Premier League club would be willing to pay a fee of up to €150m for Messi, who has already spoken with coach Pep Guardiola.

Luis Suarez could also be leaving Barcelona this summer but he was at the training ground on Sunday for the tests. Suarez, 33, has been told he’s not in Koeman’s plans for the forthcoming season but will continue to train.

Source: espn

Read also Barcelona unhappy with Messi’s leave request

VGMA 2020: Asante Kotoko congratulates Kuami Eugene for winning 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year

Kumasi Asante Kotoko has congratulated their celebrity fan Kuami Eugene for winning the 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year.

The multiple award winner, Eugene Marco popularly known as Kuami Eugene on Saturday, August 29 at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) beat competition from Diana Hamilton, Kofi Kinaata, Medikal and Sarkodie to be adjudged the 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year.

though this news has been received with mixed feelings from the general public. Some people are happy for the young artiste while others who feel their favourite should have won the biggest award of the night.

The artiste also picked up the ”Highlife Artiste of the Year”. Ghanaians have been quick to praise the achievements of ‘the Angela’ hitmaker and Kotoko have also saluted their supporter.

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

Obviously, Kotoko is happy because the award winner is a fan. Following Eugene’s victory, Kotoko congratulated him.

Kumerican club took to twitter to congratulate Kuami Eugene saying: “HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to our fan
@KuamiEugene for winning the 2020 VGMA Artiste of the Year.Flexed biceps✌ #AKSC #AriseLetsBuild #KumApem #RockStar

Kuami Eugene in January jammed with the players of Asante Kotoko in their team in celebration of club’s 2-1 over rivals, Hearts of Oak at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Kuami Eugene has never hidden his love for the Porcupine club took turns to take pictures with the players, Management members and the coaching staff.

See Kotoko’s tweet:

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

Food productivity bounces back strongly in Ghana after COVID-19 restrictions

Ghana has recovered from the initial drawback in food production as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, avoiding an imminent crisis. This has been attributed to government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy as well as other relevant programmes aimed at ensuring that the country is self-sufficient.

Speaking at the opening of a training workshop for Farmer Based Organisations in Accra, the Chief Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Robert-Patrick Ankobiah said although food production was affected at the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic, production normalised with assistance from government.

The Technical Education Development for Modernised Agriculture in Ghana (TEDMAG) is spearheading a project on behalf of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to sensitise Farmer Based Organisations on the need to employ modern Agricultural techniques to increase yield.

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

The project, which is ongoing in 8 regions with 160 participants, is modeled on 3 components, which are to equip students in agric colleges with practical skills, build capacity for Agric extension officers and rehabilitate critical infrastructure in colleges of Agriculture.

Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Robert-Patrick Ankobiah, emphasised the importance of employing modern Agric practices to ensure increased food production.

Read also Investment in irrigation and technology supports Ghana’s agriculture sector

He said government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy played a significant role in helping to normalize food production in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we were touting Planting for Food and Jobs about what it has been able to do, some of the skeptics were saying they don’t see it. But the Coronavirus test has shown that we were able to take care of ourselves internally. We did not have a shortage of food. Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs has contributed significantly to this.”

CREDIT: GBC Ghana

Read also: Agricultural productivity in Africa BOOSTED BY $400m freximbank support

Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

Against a backdrop of increasingly severe and financially straining climate events and natural disasters, technology is poised to play an important role in maintaining and improving global agricultural output.

The adoption of digital and precision farming practices has been shown to improve crop resiliency, and boost productivity and incomes, particularly in emerging markets where small-scale farmers are often more vulnerable to climatic impacts.

With increasing support from international aid organisations, as well as the public and private sectors, precision farming should help emerging market economies maintain production levels through the use of digital technologies, such as mobile apps and automation.

Cost of Climate Change
Drought, rising temperatures and extreme weather occurrences continue to cause economic shocks around the world. In March 2018 the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and global reinsurer Munich RE reported that 2017 was the second-costliest year on record for severe weather and climate events, with monsoon floods in Asia, severe drought in East Africa and the North Atlantic hurricane season estimated to have caused $320bn in loss and damage.

According to the WMO, many parts of East Africa were affected by below-average rainfall in 2016 and 2017, and the UN reported in February 2018 that crops across Kenya, Somalia and southern Ethiopia were devastated by drought, leaving 12m people in the region dependent on humanitarian aid.

Latin America was also affected by climate events in 2017. The WMO reported that Chile experienced some of its worst forest fires in recorded history in 2016-17 following extreme heat waves in late 2016.

Flooding in Peru left 70,000 people homeless, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN noted significant maize crop losses as a result.

Flooding and drought also impacted South and South-east Asia. Heavy rains in May 2017 triggered severe landslides and floods in Sri Lanka, causing numerous fatalities and negatively impacting crop production.

The flooding came in the wake of two years of severe drought, which was described by the UN as the worst in 40 years. In Myanmar flooding in July 2017 displaced over 100,000 people, with the government providing food and other assistance to 117,000 people; in August 2017 the Thai General Insurance Association recorded $300m in damages due to floods in the northern and eastern regions that border Myanmar.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines floods caused by Typhoon Tembin killed more than 200 people in December 2017.

A Continuing Problem
Drought and persistent water scarcity are a major concern for the Middle East, including in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, where between 67% and 93% of diminishing groundwater resources are used for agriculture, and the Levant, which entered its fifth consecutive year of drought in 2017.

The effects of climate change on agriculture are wide ranging and include food insecurity, immediate and lingering health impacts, a decrease in export receipts, unemployment, and social and political unrest. This concern is a planetary one, not limited to any region: the FAO projects the world will need to produce 50% more food, feed and biofuel than it did in 2012 in order to feed 9bn people by 2050.

Food Security
The economic impact on emerging market agriculture is significant. For example, in South-east Asia the International Fund for Agricultural Development reported that agriculture in the region will be increasingly affected by climate change, as floods, droughts and cyclones worsen and affect irrigation systems, crop yields, soil quality, ecosystems and water resources.

Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank has projected that in the worse-case scenario, if no adaptive measures or technological improvements are applied to agriculture, climate change will drive a 50% decline in rice yields across Asia by 2100 in comparison to 1990 levels.

In addition, rising sea levels could see up to 12% of regional production lost. According to the FAO in 2016, Latin America and the Caribbean – which hold a 58% share of the global coffee market, 52% of the soybean market, 29% of the sugar market and a 26% share of the beef market – are also vulnerable to climate change.

The International Food Policy Research Institute forecast that climate change in sub-Saharan Africa will invalidate any anticipated productivity improvements in agriculture, with 38m more people at risk of hunger in 2050 than would have been the case.

In addition, the World Bank noted that the Middle East and North Africa region, where 70% of agricultural production is rain-fed, stands at considerable risk, particularly the poorer rural communities, which are typically the hardest hit by crop and livestock losses.

Precision Agriculture
As stakeholders move to address the challenges of climate change and reduce dependency on rain-fed and groundwater growing practices, precision agriculture has been identified as one of the fundamental strategies to boost climate and natural disaster resiliency, particularly for smallholder farmers in emerging markets.

Precision farming is the application and integration of different technologies and solutions into existing farming practices to more accurately manage site-specific variables, including field variations, and soil and growing conditions, eventually growing more food while using fewer resources at a lower cost.

Precision farming applications include, but are not limited to, agricultural extension via digital advisory services, drip irrigation combined with soluble fertilisers, solar-powered pumps that transport well water to drip irrigation systems, soil and crop monitoring by humans or drones, and farm machinery guidance using positioning and mapping technology to determine optimal routes.

According to the European Committee of Associations of Manufacturers of Agricultural Machinery, precision farming expanded rapidly between 2007 and 2017, and today 70-80% of new farming equipment contains some kind of precision agriculture component.

The global precision farming industry is projected to be worth more than $10bn by 2024, according to estimates. Although the trend is already relatively established in developed markets, precision agriculture is now reaching emerging markets, where it holds the potential to improve smallholder livelihoods.

A 2014 World Bank report, “ICTs for Agriculture in Africa”, found that the application of ICT to agriculture, which remains the leading sector for most African countries, “offers the best opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation on the continent”.

In Papua New Guinea the adoption of monitored management and cooling systems allowed the country to open its first dairy farm in 2018, which is not only supplying the local market with lower-cost milk, but is also creating positive multiplier effects on rural communities that are benefitting from skills and technology transfer as part of the value chain.

“Local communities are receptive to change,” llan Weiss, chairman of Innovative Agro Industry, told OBG. “Transferring new skills and technology to remote communities creates trickle-down effects. We are bringing in farmers from all over the country not only to provide animal feed, but also to learn from the technology we have put in place.”

Apps and Data Harvesting
New apps that employ data analytics to provide information on weather and growing conditions, crop prices, ideal harvest windows and extreme weather monitoring are also poised for rapid expansion across emerging. In June 2017 the FAO launched four agri-apps to help farmers access better agricultural services.

Offerings included Cure and Feed Your Livestock, a platform providing real-time information on animal disease and feeding strategies; e-Nutrifood, which provides information on production, conservation and consumption of nutritious foods; Weather and Crop Calendar, which combines information about weather, crop calendars and a warning system for risks; and AgriMarketplace, designed to facilitate price access and improve trade.

Mobile Insurance Apps
Mobile apps offering micro- and index-based crop insurance are also on the rise in emerging markets, with the Microinsurance Network’s Agricultural Insurance Working Group reporting in 2014 that the world’s 2bn smallholder farmers are better able to invest in cash-crop production after obtaining insurance coverage.

Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam have established government-subsidised crop insurance schemes with the assistance of mobile technology. According to the Stockholm Environment Institute, a non-profit research and policy organisation, Indonesia is moving to improve its own agri-insurance scheme to meet demand.

Fires and Reforestation
In January 2018 the Peruvian government launched its Sierra Azul (Blue Highlands) programme to boost farmer incomes, unveiling plans to roll out approximately 600 planting and water harvesting projects in an effort to promote responsible and sustainable agriculture in the High-Andean area.

Projects include establishing 300 qochas (micro-reservoirs) and 300 irrigation projects, as well as a large-scale reforestation initiative that seeks to plant more than 50,000 saplings. In May 2017 Indonesia, the world’s top producer of palm oil, launched the Masterplan for Renewable Resources-Driven Green Growth.

South Sumatra’s total area of oil palm plantation rose from 870,000 ha in 2011 to 1.11m in 2014, with the attendant deforestation and peatland draining leading to fires that destroyed 700,000 ha of forest in 2015. The World Bank estimated that the total cost of the fires exceeded $16bn, or 2% of Indonesia’s GDP.

The bank also stated that the only way Indonesia could meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 29% by the year 2030 would be to stop the practices that led to the palm oil fires.

While technology can play an important role in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change and natural disasters, boosting global agricultural resiliency will require policy reforms at all levels of government to emphasise sustainability, environmental protection and the effective management of natural resources.

Agricultural productivity in Africa BOOSTED BY $400m freximbank support

Multilateral trade finance institution African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved a US$400 million revolving global credit facility agreement for the Export Trading Group (ETG) to drive agricultural productivity on the continent, it said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Afreximbank said the agreement would enable ETG, one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural conglomerates in Africa, to continue playing the key role of efficiently connecting farmers to markets, as well as expanding access to key inputs to boost productivity.

Read also Investment in irrigation and technology supports Ghana’s agriculture sector

Afreximbank estimates that the continent spent over $90 billion on food imports in 2019, even though it possesses up to 60 percent of the world’s remaining arable land.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, up to 50 percent of the continent’s agricultural production is lost every year from farm-to-market due to sub-optimal use of inputs as well as improper post-harvest storage, processing and transportation facilities, among other shortcomings.

Read also Atiwa District farmers petition COCOBOD to clamp down on illegal mining

The Covid-19 pandemic has also disrupted supply chains, heightened price volatility and could further undermine household consumption.

The Afreximbank facility will address key bottlenecks faced by African agricultural exporters, aggregating large values of produce in order to give small and medium-scale enterprises access to regional and international markets.

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

“Afreximbank remains committed to supporting African nations navigate the Covid-19 pandemic; at the same time, we remain focused on boosting agricultural productivity and accelerating the diversification of exports to strengthen the resilience of African economies,” said Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s intra-African trade initiative.

The facility will also help ETG connect the continent’s small and medium businesses to the agricultural networks and avenues critical for growth.

“With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on the horizon, the timing is opportune to shape a more productive and resilient agricultural sector—delivering both prosperity and food security for the continent’s future,” Awani said.

Read also Food productivity bounces back strongly in Ghana after COVID-19 restrictions

Afreximbank, which is headquartered in the Egyptian capital Cairo, was established in October 1993 and is owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors.

Voted ‘African Bank of the Year’ in 2019, it disbursed more than US$31 billion between 2016 and last year.

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

Wayne Rooney condemns English FA’s handling of Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire-Wayne Rooney

The all-time United top scorer Wayne Rooney has called out the Football Association’s handling of Harry Maguire’s situation, after the current United captain was found guilty following a bust-up in Mykonos, Greece.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Rooney said: “I thought there was no way Gareth Southgate could name Harry in the squad he announced on Tuesday, but he did. 

It would have been more sensible to say: ‘Harry has just played a very long season and needs more rest and let’s wait to see what happens with his court case.”

Harry Maguire was named part of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for England’s Nations League campaign against Iceland and Denmark in September however was dropped after he was found guilty, which was later nullified after an appeal.

“By jumping too quickly and putting him in the squad, it was almost inevitable he’d have to get pulled out, now it looks a mess. They’ve picked him, pulled him out, and now do they put him back in the squad? Because as things stand he is a free man and innocent!”

England have gone onto call-up Wolves’ Conor Coady, making a recall for the United defender unlikely.

Rooney continued to back Maguire, believing that the true story of what happened last week comes out in his retrial.

“Often in our country, we rush to conclusions and judgements, and in the case of Harry we need to be more open-minded and allow matters to develop, I don’t believe that anybody puts themselves on the BBC and faces the sort of questioning he did unless convinced of their position.”

“I actually feel for Gareth a bit because he was trying to show loyalty to Harry — but I’m sure if he faced the same decision again, he would make a different one.”

VGMA 2020: Full list of winners

The 2020 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards which is also the 21st edition took place on Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29.

Below are the full list of winners:

Hip-life song of the Year

Quamina MP ft. Medikal – Amanfour Girls
Guru ft Kweysi Swat – Wobete
Sarkodie ft prince bright- Oofeetso
Medikal- Omo Ada ————————————– WINNER
Sista Afia ft Quamina MP and Medika l- Weather

High-Life Song of the Year

King Promise ft Kojo Antwi- Bra
Sarkodie ft Efya -Saara
Dada Hafco ft Fameye -Our Story
Kofi Kinaata – Things Fall Apart ——————— WINNER
Kuami Eugene – Obiaato
Sista Afia ft Kelvenboy – Corner Corner
Adina – Sika
Fameye ft Kuami Eugene, Medikal and Article Wan -Notin A Get Remix

Gospel Song of the Year

Celestine Donkor ft Nhyiraba Gideon- Agbebolo —- WINNER
Mog Music- Hallelujah
Joe Mettle- Mehia Wo Yesu
Diana Hamilton – W’asem
Joyce Blessing -Repent
Nacee- Mpaebo

Afrobeat Song of the Year

EL ft AI -Adwuma
King Promise – Comando
Kelvynboy ft Joey B- Mea
Darkovibes ft Kidi – Bless Me
Kwesi Arthur ft Mr Eazi- Nobody
Kidi ft Kwesi Arthur- Mr Badman
Dopenation- Zanku ———————————– WINNER
Guilty Beats ft Mr Eazi and Kwesi Arthur-Pilolo
Wendy Shay -All for you

Reggae/ Dancehall Song of the Year

Ras Kuku- Me Mpaebo
J. Derobie- Poverty ———————————– WINNER
Epixode -Resolution
AK Songstress – Stamina
Jupitar- Top Shella
Article Wan- Reggae

Hip-Pop Song of the Year

Kofi Mole- Don’t be late —————————– WINNER
Sarkodie- Bleeding
Kwaw Kese ft Mr Eazi, Skonti, Medikal and Sarkodie -Dondo Remix
Medikal ft Kofi Mole and Joey B- Drip
Joey B ft Kwesi Arthur and Sarkodie- La Familia
Eno Barony ft Kofi Mole- Mind your business
Kwesi Arthur- Thoughts of King Arthur 5
Strongman ft Manifest – Up and Down

Best Video of the Year

Cina Soul -Killi Mi (Directed by Gene Adu) —— WINNER
RJZ- Bye Bye (Directed by Henry Akrong)
Medikal ft Kofi Mole and Joey B- Drip (Directed by Yaw Skyface)
Becca ft Tiya Savage- Yes I do (AJE Filmworks)
Kuami Eugene – Obiaato (Directed by REX)
Celestine Donkor ft Nhyiraba Gideon- Agbebolo (Directed by Abass)
EL ft FALZ, Joey B -Ehua (Directed by Yaw Skyface)
Joey B ft Kwesi Arthur- La Familia (Directed Babs Direction)
Zeetm ft Fancy Gadam- Totori (Directed by Babs Direction)
Epixode-Wahala Dey (Directed by Snares films)

Gospel Artiste of the Year

Celestine Donkor
Joe Mettle
Joyce Blessing
MOGMUSIC
Diana Hamilton ———————————————— WINNER
Akesse Brempong

Highlife Artiste of the Year

King Promise
KiDi
Kuami Eugene ————————————————– WINNER
Dada Hafco
Akwaboah
Adina
Kofi Kinaata

Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year

J. Derobie
AK Songstress
Epixode
Jupitar
Ras Kuuku ——————————————————– WINNER
Samini

Instrumentalist of the Year

Emmanuel Bludo ———————————————- WINNER
Joshua Moszi
Steve Bedi
Mizter Okyere
Affreh Junior
Anthony Ansah (Khalisax)

Songwriter of the Year

Bra by King Promise
Sanbra by Akwaboah
Things Fall Apart by Kofi Kinaata ———————– WINNER
W’asem by Diana Hamilton
Oh Me by Lamisi
Wahala Dey by Epixode

Record of the Year

Aka Kee Moko by Trigmatic
Blema Tesaa by Perez Muzik
Bolgatanga by Okyeame Kwame ————————- WINNER
Oh Me by Lamisi
Sanbra by Akwaboah
Woezor by Worlasi
Dzigbordi by Lord Paper

Producer of the Year

Guilty Beats
Two Bars
MOG —————————————————————– WINNER
Unkle Beats
Willis Beats

Hiplife/Hip-Hop Artiste of the Year

Kofi Mole
Quamina MP
Joey B
Medikal ———————————————————- WINNER
Kwesi Arthur
Sarkodie
DopeNation

Male Vocalist of the Year

Joe Mettle
Kuami Eugene
KiDi
King Promise
MOG Music —————————————————– WINNER

Female Vocalist of the Year

Adina
Lamisi
Efya
Efe Grace
Becca
Celestine Donkor ——————————————– WINNER

Best Group of the Year

DopeNation —————————————————– WINNER
Kwan Pa
Bethel Revival Choir
La Meme Gang

Best Collaboration of the Year

Amanfuor Girls by Quamina MP
Bra by King Promise
Oofeetso by Sarkodie —————————————- WINNER
Noting I Get Remix by Fameye
Ohemaa by Kuami Eugene
Mea by Kelvynboy
Mr Badman by KiDi
Saara by Sarkodie

Best Rapper of the Year

EL
Strongman
Medikal
Sarkodie
Teephlow
Eno Barony
Kwesi Arthur —————————————————–WINNER

African Artiste of the Year

BurnaBoy ———————————————————- WINNER
Big Trill
Teni
Davido
Sho Madjozi
Mercy Chinwo
Rudebwoy

International Collaboration of the Year

Cinderella by KiDi ft Mayorkum & Peruzzi
Lucky by Sarkodie ft Rudebwoy ————————— WINNER
Yes I Do by Becca ft Tiwa Savage
Father by Medikal ft Davido
Pilolo by Guilty Beats ft Mr Eazi & Kwesi Arthur
Sugar Daddy by KiDi ft Mr Eazi
Nobody by Kwesi Arthur ft Mr. Eazi
Toto Remix by Edem ft Davido

Album of the Year

King Promise – As Promised
Okyeame Kwame – Made In Ghana
Joe Mettle – Wind of Revival
KiDi – Sugar ———————————————————–WINNER
Sarkodie – Black Love
Nacee – Time With God
Kwesi Arthur – Live From Nkrumah Krom II

Most Popular Song of the Year

Quamina MP – Amanfour Girls
Sarkodie – Oofeetso
Medikal – Omo Ada
Dope Nation – Zanku
Agbebolo – Celestine Donkor
Kuami Eugene – Obiaato
Kofi Kinaata – Things Fall Apart ———————- WINNER
Diana Hamilton – W’asem
Kwesi Arthur – Nobody
Fameye – Nothing I Get Remix
KiDi – Mr Badman

Best New Artiste of the Year

Fameye ——————————————————— WINNER
J.Derobie
Lord Paper
Kofi Mole
Tulenkey
MOG Music

Artiste of the Year

Kuami Eugene ——————————————— WINNER
Sarkodie
Medikal
Kofi Kinaata
Diana Hamilton

Vodafone Green Ambassador – Gasmilla

Last but not the least, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the legendary George Darko

Ghana’s Cocoa Seed Garden gets a boost as MEDA completes 28.3 hectares Automated Drip Irrigation Projects

The cocoa sector of Ghana is set to see major boost and growth. This follows the successful completion of automated drip irrigation projects by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

The 28.3 hectares Automated Drip Irrigation Schemes were developed by the MEDA.

The Project was funded by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), a Canadian Government Agency, at the cost of 756,000 Canadian dollars.

Meanwhile, MEDA officially handed over the project to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) at a brief ceremony in Accra.

MEDA, an international economic development organization, with a mission of creating business solutions to eradicate poverty, is implementing the Farmers’ Economic Advancement Through Seedlings (FEATS) Project in Ghana.

Read also Climate change putting bees and plants out of synchronization

The FEATS activities are in four major tree crop industries namely cashew, cocoa, rubber and shea.

MEDA identified the Cocoa Seed Garden as a critical plank in the cocoa value chain in Ghana, which led to MEDA’s partnership with COCOBOD.

Using hybrid cocoa trees developed by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), COCOBOD through these seed gardens ensures that only high-quality cocoa seeds and seedlings are distributed to Ghanaian cocoa farmer.

The schemes are anticipated to support some 3,000 to 5,000 cocoa farmers with free high-quality hybrid cocoa seeds and seedlings to either replant their old cocoa farms or replace their diseased cocoa trees.

About 14.2 hectares are in the Bunso Cocoa Station in the Eastern Region and 14.2 hectares at Goaso Cocoa Station in the Ahafo Region.

The installations are expected to lead to a 30 to 50 per cent increase in cocoa pod production, which will in turn, support an additional 3000 to 5000 cocoa farmers with free high-quality hybrid cocoa seeds and seedlings to either replant their old cocoa farms or replace their diseased cocoa trees.

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

Speaking at the handing-over ceremony held at COCOBOD Headquarters in Accra, MEDA Ghana Country Director, Robert Austin, said in 2019, the scope of work agreement was signed between the two organizations.

Mr. Austin assured COCOBOD that the contractor had to remain on site for a year under warranty condition to ensure that any equipment that develops fault was repaired.

According to Mr. Austin, the schemes will help increase cocoa production in Ghana, a country ranked as the second largest producer of cocoa beans in the world.

The irrigation system will aid in increasing cocoa production if managed effectively, he said.

Read also Digital and precision farming practices support global agriculture resiliency

With the irrigation schemes, he indicated that it was now potentially possible for every cocoa farmer to irrigate his/her farm.

“Going forward, what is important for MEDA, and we are confident COCOBOD will do this, is to effectively manage this 28.3 hectares, show clearly the increase in production of cocoa pods and by extension, demonstrate to all cocoa farmers in Ghana that by investing in irrigation for their cocoa farms, they may significantly increase their income from cocoa,” Mr. Austin says.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, in a statement read on his behalf, thanked MEDA and the Canadian Government for successful completion and funding of the project.

“The coming in of MEDA with financial support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for this important project in the two cocoa stations is very appropriate and timely,” he said.

The Acting Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Annika Allman, says Canada was delighted to be able to support the project.

Read also Food productivity bounces back strongly in Ghana after COVID-19 restrictions

Video: Erica and Kiddwaya lock lips few hours after their so called break up [BBNaija]

erica-kiddwaya

Famous housemates in the Big Brother Naija House Kiddwaya and Erica have sent chills down the spines of their fans and viewers of the favorite reality show.

The love birds broke up a few hours ago after Erica complained to Kiddwaya about his attitude towards her which she disliked.

Read also Video: “I’m tired of this sh!t, one minute we’re good, the next we’re not” – Kiddwaya fires Erica [BBNaija]

However, the two couldn’t solve their issue and they called off their relationship.

During the Saturday party night, Kiddwaya and Erica were seen locking lips with each other happily.

Some fans have reacted to the video and are of the opinion that Erica should give Kiddwaya space.

Watch video below:

Read also Video: Kiddwaya unzip Nengi’s dress in the bathroom, left Ozo brokenhearted after seeing the act [BBNaija]

Video: “I’m tired of this sh!t, one minute we’re good, the next we’re not” – Kiddwaya fires Erica [BBNaija]

erica-kiddwaya

Erica feels disgusted after seeing Kiddwaya lick drinks off Dorathy’s boobs and being touchy with Nengi.

Apparently, she saw him licking Dorathy’s boobs and she didn’t find it pleasing to the eye.

She then confronted him but it didn’t take long for her to see him in a lovey-dovey pose with Nengi, touching her all over in the kitchen.

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

She confronted him about his actions saying he makes her look like a clown with his actions.

Erica said “You’re making me look like a clown. I’m so pissed! Are you actually playing dumb, asking me how did this start? Think of all your actions.

Kidd replied that he is tired of her being emotional and coming at him with every single thing he does.

Kidd replied, “What f**ing actions? Let’s talk. I’m tired of this shit. One minute we’re good, the next we’re not.”

Read also Video: Kiddwaya unzip Nengi’s dress in the bathroom, left Ozo brokenhearted after seeing the act [BBNaija]

According to him, she exaggerates and doesn’t understand the kind of person he is.

Erica again said, “I’m not a fool” and Kidd responded and said “… I’m tired of this back and forth shit. Whatever I say, you’re not gonna believe me.”

Erica added “I saw what you did tonight with DORA and NENGI. It’s f**king disrespectful.” But all Kiddwaya could say was “You’re too emotional.”

Watch the video below:

Read also Video: Erica confronts Kiddwaya for sucking fellow female’s b00bs at the party [BBNaija]

Read also Video: Erica and Kiddwaya lock lips few hours after their so called break up [BBNaija]

Video: Kelvynboy angrily left VGMA Auditorium after losing Afrobeats Award to DopeNation [VGMA21]

Ghanaian Afrobeats musician, Kelvynboy was not happy he did not win the Afrobeat award of the night.

In a video shared by Entamoty, Kelvynboy is seen walking out of the auditorium shortly after the winner for the Afrobeats Song of the Year award was announced.

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

He the award to music group, DopeNation. He seems worried because before the event, he bragged about the category being a cool chop for him.

Read also Video: Erica confronts Kiddwaya for sucking fellow female’s b00bs at the party [BBNaija]

Video: Kiddwaya unzip Nengi’s dress in the bathroom, left Ozo brokenhearted after seeing the act [BBNaija]

Ozo had some chills run down his spine when he saw Kiddwaya unzip Nengi’s dress in the bathroom. He could not keep and so he confronted Nengi.

Ozo seeing Nengi’s awkward position with Kiddwaya has got him contemplating on what happened between them in the bathroom when he saw him unzip her dress from the back.

Read also Video: Erica flaunts her raw butt to Kiddwaya shortly after she broke up with him [BBNaija]

Responding to Ozo’s question of why she was in the bathroom with Kidd, Nengi said she could not unzip it herself that is why she asked him to help her do it.

Read also Video: Erica confronts Kiddwaya for sucking fellow female’s b00bs at the party [BBNaija]

She added that it was not a big deal and that he should relax because there is nothing going.

She said, “Kiddwaya is like my brother in this house, get it into your head, let it sink.”

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

Video: Erica confronts Kiddwaya for sucking fellow female’s b00bs at the party [BBNaija]

Erica has served Kiddwaya with a stern warning saying she doesn’t want to see him pull off such stunt at the party room again.

Read also Video: Brighto and Wathoni caught by a camera knacking under duvet again [BBNaija]

Apparently, Erica saw him sucking an unidentified female housemate’s boobs while dancing with her at the party room.

Read also Video: Erica flaunts her raw butt to Kiddwaya shortly after she broke up with him [BBNaija]

She found that disgusting and questioned him on it but Kiddwaya as usual turned around the question saying “If you saw it that way then it’s fukd up”.

Read also “I care for you more than Vee does” – Erica tells Laycon [BBNaija]

Watch video below:

Read also Roommate confirms Wathoni gave birth without seeing a man [BBNaija]

Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: Kuami Eugene crowned artiste of the year

Kuami Eugene, Ghanaian musician, has won the  2020 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards Artist of The Year.

Artiste of the year award is considered the most prestigious and the biggest among all the awards of the night.

Read also Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2020: List of Day One Winners

The ceremony which was held in two part at place at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) on Friday August 28 and Saturday, August 29.

Read also Kofi Kinaata sets a new VGMA record

He beat Sarkodie, Kofi Kinaata, King Promise and Diana Hamilton to win the biggest award at the awards ceremony last night.

GARDJA calls for speedy operationalisation of cocoa farmers’ welfare fund

The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has at the launch of its new cocoa advocacy initiative trumpeted the urgent need for the Ghana Cocoa Board to with immediate effect, operationalize a welfare fund to support cocoa farmers.

The National President of GARDJA, Richmond Frimpong, noted that the welfare fund concept as enshrined in the Ghana Cocoa Board law was meant to among others, cushion cocoa farmers against financial hardships.

The cocoa farmers’ welfare fund concept was hoped to provide affordable loans and financial support to farmers.

“The law is also emphatic that the board shall establish a fund to be known as Farmers’ Welfare Fund which will be funded with 10% of COCOBOD’s net profit every year to be used to among others, develop farming communities and provide welfare loans to farmers,” Mr. Frimpong highlighted.

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

He regretted the absence of the fund had made farmers poorer as well as denied cocoa-growing communities of very pertinent social amenities to improve their lives.

The president of GARDJA recounted how poverty had made cocoa farmers easy prey for loan sharks who take advantage of their vulnerability to sell them credit at cut-throat interest rates, often more than 100%, worsening their plight.

He appealed to the Ghana cocoa sector regulator, COCOBOD, to in the interest of cocoa farmers, urgently consider the immediate establishment of the welfare fund to ease their suffering.

Mr. Frimpong also encouraged the implementation of the cocoa farmers’ pension scheme, regretting 36 years after the promulgation of the Ghana Cocoa Board Law the scheme had not seen the light of day.

“For example, the Ghana Cocoa Board Law, 1984 (PNDC Law 81) section 26 and 27 states that ‘the Board shall, within one year after the coming into force of this law, establish a contributory insurance scheme for cocoa, coffee and sheanuts farmers within the framework of the Social Security Scheme’.”

Read also Investment in irrigation and technology supports Ghana’s agriculture sector

Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa beans in the world, after Ivory Coast.

Over 800,000 farming families account for the country’s globally celebrated quality cocoa produce.

Cocoa generates about US$2 billion dollars annually into the economy of the West African nation and a major contributor to its gross domestic product (GDP).

However, cocoa farmers remain poorer despite their contribution, constantly having to grapple with a low farmgate price for their produce, high labour cost, lack of access to farm input, cheating by cocoa buyers, climate change, among others.

The Secretary, National Board of Directors/Administrator of WCFO Ghana Chapter, Moses Djan Asiedu, speaking on the challenges of cocoa farmers, recommended more training on good agricultural practices and concerted extension services to support sustainable cocoa production and improve the farmer’s lot.

Read also Disappointed citrus farmers in A. A. K. district trained to produce honey from bees

The launch of GARDJA’s cocoa advocacy initiative supported by SEND Ghana and Rainforest Alliance, a non-governmental organization that works with cocoa farmers and cooperatives in addressing key issues affecting them, sought to draw the attention of news editors to the issues.

SEND Ghana Project Officer, Sandra Sarkwah, underscored the urgency for consistent advocacy on the challenges confronting cocoa growers and entreated the media to mainstream the cocoa sector in the national agenda.

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Roland Affail Monney, commended GARDJA’s cocoa advocacy initiative and urged journalists to build capacity to specialize in reportage on cocoa to bring depth and crucial attention in ensuring the sustainability of the sector.

Kojo Hayford, the editor of Cocoa Post, a specialized news platform for the cocoa and chocolate industry, endorsed the need to highlight the challenges of cocoa farmers explaining giving a voice to cocoa is the cardinal pillar for the establishment of the Cocoa Post.

He believed, “the cocoa advocacy initiative must be guided by the national interest to engender a holistic improvement at the various stages of the cocoa value chain for the benefit of players and the economy in general.”

Other news editors present at the program included Gloria Anderson of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation Radio and Thomas Adotei Pappoe of Media General’s TV3.

SOURCE: GARDJA

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