Tag Archives: Agriculture

Ghana: Stakeholders collaborate to address deforestation and boost cocoa production

A stakeholders’ workshop to discuss measures to address deforestation and boost cocoa production in the Ahafo Region has been held at Goaso.

It was also to share and discuss outcomes of a study on socio – economic and ecological assessment of the Asunafo- Asutifi cocoa production area for clear understanding of risks, issues, challenges and opportunities for the development of a sustainable cocoa production landscape.

The workshop was jointly organized by Proforest, Forestry Commission, COCOBOD and World Cocoa Foundation, to provide a platform for the stakeholders to work together towards the development of a management and investment plan to address deforestation, low cocoa production, protection of forest reserves and promote climate smart agricultural activities in the area.

Over 80 representatives from Asunafo North Municipality, Asunafo South and Asutifi North Districts in the Ahafo Region, which have been designated as the Asunafo- Asutifi Hotspot Intervention Area (HIA) attended the workshop.

Dr. Augustus Asamoah, Principal Project Manager of Proforest speaking at the workshop, said Ghana was taking steps to address deforestation and its impact on cocoa production in cocoa producing areas through the Ghana cocoa forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP).

This programme, according to him, represented the largest fully- functional jurisdictional programme in Ghana that provided the framework for engaging multiple government institutions, private sector, civil society, traditional authorities and community representatives, to address key deforestation and forest degradation issues as well as community livelihood improvement, while building climate resilience in the cocoa sector.

Read also We are re-energizing our Smallholder Farmers the need to see Agriculture as a Business – CEO BEIT Farms

The Technical Advisor to Chief Executive of Forestry Commission ( FC), Dr. Kwakye Ameyaw, asked members in forest fringe communities to lead the fight against deforestation in the country’s forest reserves since it contributed to climate change and impacted negatively on cocoa production.

He said community members, especially farmers, had a critical role to play in fighting illegal operators in forest reserves by reporting them to the Commission for their arrest and prosecution.

Dr. Ameyaw, pointed out that the government alone cannot fight the menace unless community members who lived with the perpetrators took bold decisions to report them.

He said FC was working closely with all key stakeholders to address challenges in the sector to sustain the country’s forest.

Mr. Charles Sarpong Duah, Manager of the Climate Change Unit of the FC, appealed to traditional leaders and the media to take an active part in the campaign and educate the public on the negative impact of deforestation and the need to plant trees in their localities.

Dr. Shalom D. Addo Danso, Lead Consultant of KABSTREK Consult, said unsustainable agricultural activities, especially for cocoa and food crop production had been identified as one of the most important drivers of deforestation.

He mentioned ageing farmer population, ageing cocoa farms, land tenure issues, low involvement of the youth in cocoa production, excessive hunting, pollution of water bodies, illegal logging and farming in forest reserves, as some of the challenges facing cocoa production in the area.

Read also Ghanaian cashew farmers leverage technology to receive better prices

Dr. Addo Danso advocated for improved law enforcement by the Forestry Commission and other law enforcement agencies to reduce the impact of illegal activities in the forest to sustain key ecological, cultural and historical habitats.

He stressed on the need for a massive reforestation program to rehabilitate the forest reserves in the landscape.

Dr. Addo Danso also called for the training of farmer groups, traditional leaders and local government leaders to adopt beneficial and climate- smart cocoa farming to sustain production.

Mr. James Parker, Project Manager of Proforest, said outcomes from the workshop and follow-up actions would be used to finalize the management and investment plan for the Asunafo- AsutifiI HIA.

He said the development of the plans would be financed by UK aid through the Forest, Governance, Market and Climate (FGMC) program and eight cocoa buying companies, while its implementation would be done through the HIA governance structure, which had been established by Forestry Commission through Tropenbos International.

Ghanaian cashew farmers leverage technology to receive better prices

An increasing number of Ghanaian smallholder cashew farmers are getting better prices on their harvests, and reducing their operations expenses, thanks to the continued rollout of a smartphone app that gives them direct access to Olam Food Ingredients in Ghana.

The app empowers farmers to get prices directly from the company rather than from traditional buying agents, which yields not only higher prices for their cashews but cost savings on their expenses.

This can have significant positive impacts on farmers and their communities: if the average daily food budget for a typical household of five is Ghc14 Ghc15 (equivalent to $2.40 – $2.58), farmers using the app can receive funds worth another month of food.

It is one part of a robust, proprietary solution called ‘Olam Direct’, which was developed in-house to provide a variety of apps and tools to not only provide greater transparency on pricing, but access to inputs like better fertilizer use and farming advice such as insights on efficient land use to fight climate change.

The purchasing app was first piloted in 2018 and involved approximately 1,000 farmers and 125 tonnes of cashews. This year, over 5,400 farmers are participating and selling 3,100 tonnes, and Olam sees the number increasing to 8,000 tonnes in 2021.

“When we empower farmers to do better for themselves, whether through business operations or supporting their communities and environments, we all win,” said Mr. Anantharaman. Shekhar, CEO, Olam Food Ingredients.

“Olam Direct is a textbook example of using technology to disintermediate and transform a supply chain so that it works more efficiently and fairly.

“Sustainability depends on the health and success of farmers on whom our customers depend and working together, we can meet the increasing demands of consumers for food products that are not only natural but right for both planet and producer,” Mr. Shekhar said.

In addition, farmer participation in Olam Direct also provides the company’s customers with traceable and reliable visibility into their purchases (all transactions are geotagged and timestamped, with farmers’ consent) and delivered via its AtSource platform.

It is a core technology pillar for delivering Olam’s long-term vision to re-imagine agribusiness and food supply by focusing on empowering farmers and customers.

“Olam Direct, as a new and unique buying model, has equipped us to engage with cashew farmers directly and create a relationship which is beyond transactional nature,” said Mr. Amit Agrawal, Country Head of Olam Ghana Limited.

“Through it, we provide more transparency in price to farmers and help them appropriate better margins by disintermediating aggregators in the cashew supply chain. We also work with cashew farmers in the off-season providing them knowledge training, need-based farmer loans, and farming inputs,” Mr. Agrawal said.

Established in 1994, Olam Food Ingredient’s global cashew business has grown in Ghana through strong, year-round farmer relationships that extend beyond the harvest season; its training programmes in good agricultural practice encourage sustainability and over 30 programmes on 12 different relevant topics were delivered in 2019.

A programme to train 400 female farmers as beekeepers in the off-season already produced anecdotal increases in income of 15%.

Intriguingly, the programme’s success evidences a broader transformation of the sector: Almost half of the farmers benefiting from the Olam Direct programme are women and, as numerous studies find that they are responsible both for farm productivity and family health and well-being, it delivers direct and indirect benefits to entire communities.

Additionally, many of the buying agents have transitioned to become micro-collectors for its digital transactions, thereby creating new job opportunities, and Olam is pioneering organising individual farmers to form groups so they can have greater voices in the selling process, as well as receive equal treatment.

Olam Direct also empowers farmers to receive market information and alerts from Olam, ask questions directly via the app, and provide feedback or report issues to the company.

We are re-energizing our Smallholder Farmers the need to see Agriculture as a Business – CEO BEIT Farms

The Chief Executive Officer of BEIT Farms, Mr. Evans Larbi, is asking farmers across the African continent to see farming as a serious business.

The Chief Executive Officer believes that agriculture plays an important role when it comes to the economic development of this continent.

“The continent has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world, so why are we still importing junk foods into our continent” he quizzed.

The Chief Executive Officer made these remarks in an interview with this reporter, at the Africa Smallholder Farmers Summit 2020 with the theme; “Creating jobs for African Women and Youth through smallholder farming”.

The summit brought together participants from Ghana and other Africa countries here in Accra.

The summit was organized by BEIT Farms Ghana in collaboration with the University of Ghana (Agric Department), Ag-INNOVATE, and Ghana Association of Agricultural Economist (GAAE).

Read also Bigmanism: A canker destroying local businesses

Mr. Larbi pointed out that unlocking the country’s agricultural potential will create jobs as well as providing enough food for domestic supply, adding that the task was made more urgent by the vast sums spent on food imports, with Africa spending an annual total of about US$35bn.

However, a change in strategy will be necessary in order to achieve this goal, Larbi added. “Agriculture must cease being treated as a development programme; agriculture must henceforth be treated as a business,” the CEO said.

Chief Executive Officer for Okata Farms Mrs. Mabel Akoto Kwudzo and 2017 second national best farmer believes that there needs to be a comprehensive repositioning of agriculture among the nation’s youth, including how it is presented in the school system and, by extension, viewed by society as a lesser career choice.

Read also 40,000 young people in Nigeria to benefit from Young Africa Works-IITA Project Training Programme

Mrs. Kwudzo said that along with creating a youth in agriculture policy, which would address some of the long-standing issues that face the youth in agriculture such as access to land and funding for agriculture, marketing and information about the industry, the issue of how agriculture is taught in schools will also have to be addressed.

“There also has to be a bigger approach and a bigger rethink, and a part of that rethink will have to start in our education sector,” she said.

Read also Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

The 2020 Best Farmer, Youth in Agriculture for the Upper Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region underscored the urgency for consistent advocacy on the challenges confronting smallholder farmers and entreated the media to mainstream the sector in the national agenda.

Read also Next NDC government to establish farmers’ mechanisation centres

“Agriculture is not a secondary profession. It’s not a fallback profession. It is not something you do if you don’t have anything else to do. We need agriculture to be given pride of place in our education curriculum and not just to be taught to our students on the basis of primary agriculture,” she also said.

40,000 young people in Nigeria to benefit from Young Africa Works-IITA Project Training Programme

In May this year, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to start the Young Africa Works-IITA Project, an innovative approach to agribusiness training and start-up for Nigeria’s young people.

This project was developed in consultation with young people, policymakers, educators, and entrepreneurs as part of the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people in Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work over the next 10 years.

In Nigeria, Young Africa Works aims to see 10 million young people, most of them women, in dignified work opportunities by 2030.

In line with this strategy, Young Africa Works IITA-project is designed to advance agribusiness opportunities to over 40,000 Nigerian young women and men with a special focus on skills development, decent employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities to secure work in agri-food value chains for the next five years.

“Agriculture is among the most viable potential source of employment for young people in Africa,” said Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head for Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation.

Read also Next NDC government to establish farmers’ mechanisation centres

Chidinma added, “We are excited to see how our Young Africa Works partnership with IITA will make the agricultural sector more attractive to young people, particularly women by providing skills training in the agriculture value chain for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.”

To kick off project activities, IITA has launched a call for application to young women and men between the age of 18 and 35 years living in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna.

This training focuses on agribusiness development that will provide young people an opportunity to grow their businesses through coaching and mentoring and learn modern farming and value addition techniques.

Young people will also be exposed to agriculture product marketing skills, market linkages, and career orientation through job placements and internship opportunities.

These skills can bridge the gap in establishing viable agribusiness enterprises between youth and potential employers in the agricultural sector.

Read also Adopt multiple approaches when training farmers – Farmerline

It gives young women — 70 percent of all participants — a special opportunity to enhance their participation and adopt entrepreneurship.

In highlighting women’s participation, the training and the project seek to create productive partnerships between young men and women and apply a gender-based approach to address some of the challenges faced by young women in the agribusiness sector in Nigeria.

Participants will acquire business and soft skills that will facilitate their integration into the professional field and this year’s training will cover the following value chains: maize, soybean, rice, horticulture, orange fleshed sweet potato, groundnut, aquaculture, and poultry.

“There will be no development in Nigeria without the youth. The best way to end poverty is to create opportunities, and this is what this project is all about.

“By creating career opportunities and youth-led enterprises, we are planting a seed of change for the next generation. It is in this line that the Young Africa Works-IITA project was developed by the youth, for the youth, and with the youth,” said Aline Mugisho, Executive Manager, Young Africa Works-IITA project.

Read also Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

To start an application, please visit http://www.youthagripreneurs.org/young-africa-works-iita.

Contact: 09062081803, 09062081804, 09020957065 youngafricaworks-iita@cgiar.org

Applications are open from 12 November until 12 December 2020.

About IITA, http://www.iita.org

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation.

Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity.

IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future.

Read also Want to venture into Okra Production? Here is simple Costs and Benefits analysis

About the Mastercard Foundation, http://www.mastercardfdn.org

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work.

It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world.

The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.

Adopt multiple approaches when training farmers – Farmerline

The Head of Partner and Farmer Engagement at Farmerline Company, Madam Lily Akorfa Keledorme, has suggested the use of a blended approach to train farmers to adopt appropriate farming practices.

She said a lean data study conducted by Farmerline on the effectiveness of training models for farmers found that a combination of multiple training modalities proved more impactful in influencing farmer behaviour compared to the adoption of a single training technique.

In the study, titled: “Impactful Farmer Education Models: A Lean Data Study,” Farmerline assessed the adoption rate, cost-effectiveness, and scalability of a series of training models, including in-person training, talking books, and mobile voice messages.

Addressing a virtual conference in Accra, Madam Keledorme explained that a series of training modalities were randomly deployed to 114 farmers from five communities within the Ashanti Region.

The conference, organised by Farmerline in collaboration with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), was on the theme: “Influencing farmer behaviour change: Relevant lessons for the new normal.”

The training focused on post-harvest planning and business management comprising bookkeeping, budgeting and saving.

Madam Keledorme said in spite of the enormous contribution of the agriculture sector to the economy and the survival of the citizenry, studies conducted across farming communities pinpointed low levels of formal education and financial literacy among farmers.

Read also Cocoa farmers see boost in production after applying Omya Calciprill

The development, she noted, largely accounted for the inability of farmers to secure the right profits and returns from their toil.

She said although a number of training models had been executed by the Government, development partners and private organisations to respond to the issue, there were emerging technologies that needed to be considered and used, hence the study by Farmerline.

“We sought to discern ways we could help farmers earn better profits by influencing behaviour changes and to use such methods to shape the delivery and structure of our training programmes,” Madam Keledorme said.

“Our focus was to help farmers increase their knowledge on post-harvest planning activities, especially in business management so they can budget and plan for the next season, including doing bookkeeping, revenue and profit calculations, savings and reinvestment of capital.”

Read also Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana distributes relief items to vulnerable farmers

Madam Keledorme said the study revealed that a good blend of in-person training and digital tools, when used rightly, would make a significant impact on farmers for behaviour change.

She indicated that although all the models had specific advantages that made them useful, they all had shortfalls, which made them inapplicable in some situations.

“The individual models were effective to some extent but we established that a blended approach of training farmers and a continuous engagement increases adoption,” she said.

Madam Keledorme said the adoption of digital tools had become more significant, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic where physical engagement between trainers and farmers had become minimal.

She, however, urged facilitators and development organisations to consider the training content and objective to determine the ideal digital tools to employ.

Read also Next NDC government to establish farmers’ mechanisation centres

“One of the takeaways of this study is that digital tools will play a significant role in enforcing behaviour change beyond COVID-19 and it is important for us to work collectively to improve the welfare of farmers,” she said.

Famerline helps in transforming smallholder farmers into successful entrepreneurs by increasing their access to information, inputs and resources to increase productivity.

Next NDC government to establish farmers’ mechanisation centres

According to the Presidential Candidate of National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama, the next NDC government will establish farmers’ mechanisation centres in all farming districts to boost productivity.

“There is good news for farmers. We are going to open what we call farmers’ mechanisation centres,” he said this at a mini rally at Binduri in the Upper East Region.

Mr Mahama explained that in every farming district, interested farmers would have to register with the Centre adding: “We are going to put enough tractors, ploughs, harrows, and boom sprayers. Every machine you need to work with will be in the service centre. And so if you go and register it means you are a member of the centre.”

He added, “When you need a tractor to plough or to harrow, or to spray your crops, or even after you’ve harvested your maize or your millet, you need them to bring a thresher to thresh your maize or millet, they will bring it and do it for you.”

“You don’t need to pay immediately. What they will do is they will record the cost and when you finish harvesting and sell your crops then you can pay for it.”

Read also Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana distributes relief items to vulnerable farmers

He noted also that the staff would go round to inspect farm lands to assess how many acres farmers owned to ensure they were able to access the services when the farming season begun.

Mr Mahama said the allocation of machines to the centres will be based on the crop processing zones in the country.

Read also NDC to streamline fishery sector to benefit industry players – John Mahama

The centres will be processing the crops for both the local market and possibly for export, he said, adding that it would provide a lot of jobs for young people.

The NDC Presidential Candidate said his government would embark on a big afforestation programme nationwide, especially in the Savannah areas, to grow trees.

Read also Cocoa farmers poised to increase production

“And so we are going to employ a lot of you young people in forestry. And then you are going to plant the trees and you are going to make sure that the trees grow,” he said.

Mr Mahama said those engaged in the programme would be given tricycles to water the trees during the dry seasons until they were able to stand on their own.

“And we will pay you for doing that. We will give you a monthly salary for growing those trees.”

Read also NDC will institute Cashew Board — Mahama Assure Farmers

Mr Mahama is being accompanied on his four-day tour of the Upper East Region by leading members of the Party, including Professor Joshua Alabi, National Campaign Manager, Alhaji Sofo Azorka, a National Vice Chairman; Alhaji Mumuni Bolnaba, Upper East Regional Chairman; Mr Cletus Avoka, NDC Parliamentary Candidate for Zebilla and Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central.

Cocoa farmers see boost in production after applying Omya Calciprill

Cocoa farmers in the Western Region are gradually seeing a boost in cocoa production following the introduction of Omya Calciprill to tackle soil acidity on their cocoa farms.

Some of the farmers who testified after using Omya Calciprill explained the improvements in the leaves of cocoa trees for better and increased yields after applying Omya Calciprill to the soil a year ago.

The farmers gave their testimonies during a two-day training seminar for the Seed Production Division (SPD) of COCOBOD at Kejebril and Wassa Akropong, both in the Western Region, about the importance of Calciprill and the effects of acidic soils on cocoa last Wednesday.

Speaking to the media at the seminar, Mr. Samuel Asare Ankamah – Western South CHED Regional Manager, explained that applying Omya Calciprill to the soil will help boost soil quality and cause an increase in yield for farmers in the region.

Read also Unlocking Africa’s ‘Value Added’ industrial potential, stories of women and men in this drive

According to Mr. Ankamah, Western South is the hub of cocoa farming – hence there is a need to ensure good farm practices, such as soil rehabilitation, to ensure high-yield cocoa production in the region and country at large.

Facilitator for the training, Mr. Daniel Attivor – an agronomist for Omya West Africa, stated that the training was to help farmers understand that acidic soils with low PH will hinder effectiveness of fertilisers applied until they neutralise soil – which is what the application of Calcipril gives.

Mr. Attivor noted that it is important for farmers to know the nature of their soil with the help of Extension Officers before applying fertilizer, in order to get the required production level.

Read also IFC partners with Agricultural Bank of Egypt to promote farmers’ switch to solar irrigation systems

Operations Manager of Demeter Ghana, Mr. Nick Parish, on his part stated that they are happy to be part of the project and will continue supporting farmers with products needed to boost production in the country.

This is the second training seminar held for farmers in the region after renewal of the partnership between the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Beft Agro Consult Limited, distributor of fertilisers in Ghana.

Facilitator for the training, Mr. Daniel Attivor – an agronomist for Omya West Africa

To help promote the message of soil-acidity and the importance of Calciprill, Beft Agro Ltd. will be aided by Demeter Ghana Ltd., a specialist agricultural company.

Studies have shown that soil-acidity is one of the major constraints in cocoa cultivation and has a bearing on the levels of key nutrients, such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus, in the soil – leading to low cocoa yields and thereby affecting farmers adversely.

Read also Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), over a two-year testing period and subsequent distribution, have proven that Omya Calciprill can boost yields by 70 percent.

A section of participant during the workshop

Omya Calciprill is a high-quality soil conditioner from Germany that is used to rid soils of acidity, leading to increased yields as well as improved crop quality.

Beft Agro Limited producers of Omya Calcipril have worked closely with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and COCOBOD for many years toward ensuring excellence in crop and cocoa production

Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

Tomato is mostly produced in eleven out of the 16 regions in Ghana. These production regions include Upper East, Northern, North East, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Oti and Volta Regions.

The tomato sector in Ghana has failed to reach its potential, in terms of attaining yields comparable to other countries, in terms of the ability to sustain processing plants, and in terms of improving the livelihoods of those households involved in tomato production and the tomato commodity chain.

Despite government interventions that include effort to establish a number of tomato processing factories, tomatoes of the right quality and quantity for commercial agroprocessing are not being grown.

Many farmers still prefer to plant local varieties, typically with a high water content, many seeds, poor color, and low brix. Land husbandry practices are often suboptimal.

Average yields remain low, typically under ten tons per hectare. Because of production seasonality, high perishability, poor market access, and competition from imports, some farmers are unable to sell their tomatoes, which are left to rot in their fields.

Yet other farmers in Ghana have achieved higher tomato yields, production is profitable, and many farmers in Ghana continue to choose to grow tomatoes over other crops. One of the key issues for tomato farmers in Ghana is high per-unit input costs.

When farmgate prices are high, this is not such a concern for individual farmers—farmers in Greater Accra, for
example, incur large irrigation costs while yields remain low to grow for the off-season when prices are more likely to be high.

But when farmgate prices are low and variable, as is often the case for rained farmers who plant according to the rains and accordingly typically all harvest at a similar time, reducing per unit input costs is essential.

Further, for tomato processing to be competitive in Ghana, average per unit production costs need to be considerably lower so that farmers can sell their tomatoes profitably at the low but guaranteed prices offered by processors.

To go into tomato farming first, you need to have an idea about tomato production steps and processes. If you can get those right then you are on your way to making good money from tomato production.

Mind you, pests and weeds are major threats to realizing your income after spending so much. Now let’s put some figures down and work around it.

Operational Budget/Ha/Yr (2020)

ActivityCost (GHS)
Land rent300.00
Land preparation600.00
Seeds(100g x 4)240.00
Fertilizer & manure3,630.00
Agrochemical100.00
Labour3,500.00
Estimated total cost8,370.00

Yield

Yield varies greatly with cultivar and adherence to good agricultural practices. Yields of up to 35-40 tons/ha are achievable.

Market requirement

The fruit should be firm and free from blemishes or any damage.

Revenue

Average yield/ha = 40 tons = 40,000 kg

Percentage loss of 10%

Available yield = 90/100 × 40,000 = 36,000 kg

Packaging in 36,000 kg/52 kg = 692.3 boxes

Farm gate price/52 kg box = GHS20.00

Income = 692 boxes x GHS20 = GHS13,840.00

Net income = GHS13,840.00 – GHS8,370.00

                     = GHS5,470.00

Note:

  • This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.
  • Price of tomatoes has been quoted conservatively. You can get higher prices depending on the time and location.

Unlocking Africa’s ‘Value Added’ industrial potential, stories of women and men in this drive

From oil to cocoa, cotton to vanilla, Africa is rich in natural resources but its heavy dependence on commodity exports means it has yet to take full advantage of the added value that processing raw materials and manufacturing can bring.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is working to change this by promoting successful industrial policies, attracting funding to infrastructure and industry and supporting the growth of capital markets to create quality employment that alleviates poverty.

The last decade has seen progress, with manufacturing growth in Africa outpacing the global growth rate. In 2019, Africa’s industrial GDP expanded by 17% to $731 billion (in 2010 dollars), with the value-added of manufacturing surging by 39%, according to the AfDB’s 2020 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER).

But Africa’s industrialisation is geographically limited, with around two-thirds of value-added manufacturing taking place in just five nations: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.

This year, progress has been reversed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended economic growth, disrupted trade and financial flows and triggered losses of millions of jobs.

The economic and social impact of the pandemic has injected more urgency into the drive to industrialise Africa, just as the African Continental Free Trade Area is set to reshape the continent into a singular market of 2.5 billion people by 2050.

As the African Development Bank joins the international community to mark Industrialization Day, some stories of women and men turning the tables on Africa’s industrialisation front merit all our attention.

Africa Industrialisation Day, which fell on Friday November 20, mobilizes the commitment of the international community to the continent’s industrialisation and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the AfDB’s impact in this sector, one of its High 5 priorities.

Just outside Cairo, the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), a greenfield petroleum refinery, is one of the largest industrial units of its kind in Africa.

With nearly $222 million in funding from the Bank, the refinery converts the lowest-value fuel into 4.7 million tons of refined products and high-quality oil derivatives per year, meeting domestic consumption needs, cutting emissions from dirty fuels and reducing Egypt’s balance of payment deficit.

The huge project created more than 15,000 jobs at peak construction and 1,000 permanent local job opportunities.

“From day one they were able to see that this project, which has been 12 years in the making, was going to have a transformative effect on Egypt’s economy,” said Ahmed Heikal, chairman and founder of ERC’s parent company, Qalaa Holdings.

In 2019, 1 million people across Africa benefited from the Bank’s industrial investee projects. Turnover from Bank investments in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) almost trebled, reaching $1 billion and far exceeding targets.

Read also Want to venture into Okra Production? Here is simple Costs and Benefits analysis

Some of the best opportunities for Africa’s industrialization lie in agriculture. Crucial to this sector is the Bank’s support of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), which strengthen African countries’ ability to attract private sector investment by bringing policy, investment and infrastructure together, usually in a rural area with high agricultural output.

Take South Africa, where the Bank is supporting the development of 22 SAPZs. One of them, Bokomoso Ba Rona SAPZ, aims to rehabilitate an area and develop a post-mining economy on a 30,000-hectare site owned by mining company Sibanye-Stillwater.

“We are aiming to attract private sector investment, which will drive agro-processing and build a strong value chain,” said Noxolo Mtembu, Project Manager at the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency, which is responsible for developing the SAPZ.

Africa’s emerging connectivity and a workforce increasingly familiar with the digital world and new technologies will make it possible for the continent to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution to improve productivity, create jobs, and extend social welfare.

New industries have transformed the fabric of local economies, for example in Nabeul, in north-eastern Tunisia, once most famous as a craft and tourist centre.

Read also Want to start a farm? Here is detailed steps on how to plan and start

Now Nabeul is becoming as well known for its high-tech industries. With financing from the Bank, the MEDIS pharmaceutical laboratory was established to produce generic medicines, creating thousands of skilled jobs and becoming one of the region’s biggest employers.

The laboratory has provided formal, secure jobs for many who otherwise would have been confined to informal work or unemployment.

“My job with MEDIS has given me freedom and dignity. I’m not asking for a handout and I’m not asking anything of anyone,” said employee Sabra Gmati.

“If MEDIS or a business like it wasn’t in Nabeul, I’d be unemployed and I would stay at home.”

Credit: afdb.org

Want to venture into Okra Production? Here is simple Costs and Benefits analysis

Okra production

Okra production is a very profitable farming business, especially during the periods of low rainfall. Farmers take advantage of lowlands to cultivate okra during this period.

We are not just saying it is profitable. We take you through the very current 1ha okra production costs and benefits.

Note: 1hectare = 2.5 acres

Operational Budget/Ha/Yr (2020)

ActivityCost(Ghc)
Land rent375.00
Land preparation600.00
Seeds600.00
Fertilizer and manure2,540.00
Pesticides200.00
Labour3600.00
Total estimated cost7,915.00

Revenue from 1ha Okra Production

Average fruit yield/ha = 12 tons

=12,000 kg

Percentage loss of 5%

Available yield for market

= 95/100×12,000kg = 11400kg

Packaging in 6 kg box = 11400/6 kg =1900 boxes

Farm gate price/6 kg = Ghc10

Income = 1900×10= Ghc 19,000.00

Net income = Ghc 19,000 – 7,915.00 = Ghc 11,085

Note: This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.

Ghana’s yam exports may crash if poor quality is not checked – Exporter cries

The use of fertilisers and chemicals such as weedicides, herbicides and pesticides is becoming dominant in agriculture in Ghana and the yam sector is no exception, the sad part is the reckless application of these chemicals, which compromises the quality and the shelf life even before the arrival of the produce on the world market.

For this, some yam exporters in the country have decried the continuous decline in the quality of yam for the export market.

Many yam exporters have lost quite huge investments in the trade especially with the “Puna” yam variety this year. They say most of the yams exported get rotten before the consignment reaches its destination.

An exporter with over 12 years export experience, Mr. William Safo Ayeh, has complained that the reckless application of chemicals to yam produce in Ghana is becoming a great concern to exporters as most of their yam exports are rejected before reaching their destination, especially Europe.

Mr. Ayeh who is also a member of the Ghana Assorted Food Exporters Association (GAFEA) added that the situation is affecting their investment and subsequent revenue the government would have accrued if the yam exportation was booming as before.

“An exporter can spend Gh¢ 100.000.00 to export a 40 ft container of yam and when quarter or half of the produce gets rotten, how can we get our investment back.” He wonders.

“We started exporting Yam to Europe, UK to be specific since 2006, the quality then was very good. The farmers then did not apply chemicals to their produce and this enabled the yam to last longer.

“As time goes by, the farmers we buy from started introducing chemicals such as weedicides, herbicides to spray the farm instead of employing labour to weed their farms.

“What is worsening the situation is the wrong and ignorant application of fertilizers affecting the quality of the yam produced in the country,” Mr. Ayeh stated.

He also disclosed that Nigeria has started planting “Puna” and if Ghana continues to entertain the rejection of its produce in Europe and other parts of the world, the country will lose its business to Nigeria.

Mr. Ayeh believes that farmers can still get bumper harvest without the use of excessive fertilisers.

He added that the GAFEA, of which he is a member has met severally to discuss how to deal with it but still the problem exists adding that now when their yam produce are exported to Europe, they do not get value for money because almost half of the yam go bad before reaching its destination.

Read also Farmers benefit from COVID-19 response under TAATs

Mr. William Safo Ayeh is calling on the government, the ministry of Food and Agriculture, CSIR and other relevant stakeholders in the agric sector to as a matter of urgency get in touch with yam farmers in the country, train and educate them on the proper use of fertilisers and also educate them on the dangers of weedicides, herbicides and pesticides on their produce as it has the tendency to affect the long term yam sector negatively.

He said, “Fertilisers and especially the organic fertilisers can be good but the excessive practice and the wrong application is the issue.”

According to an Agronomist, Dzokoto Shakespeare, “It is worrying to note that exporters are not talking about it. Some have lost close to 40% or more of their produce before it got to its final destination.

“Some have also been rejected on arrival due to high rate of decomposed or rotten tubers. Puna, which hitherto was naturally grown has fallen victim to this misfortune.”

He also added that yam must return to its organic model to save the industry. Hence, the need to organize the yam sector prior to the next major season because most yam exporters are not happy and this must be addressed by the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

Read also Partnerships and investments in digital agriculture needed amid COVID-19 – Extension Director

Brief on Yam export in Ghana

According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority’s report, the export of Yam from Ghana increased from US$ 32.599 million in 2017 to US$37.986 million in 2018. In terms of global ranking of countries that exported products under the sector in spotlight, Ghana garnered the 6th position.

The USA was the largest market destination for yam from Ghana with estimated imports of US$14.355 million of the product in 2018 compared to US$12.929 million and US$10.585 million for 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Other notable importers of yam from Ghana include the UK (US$ 10.202million), The Netherland (US$ 3.614 million, Belgium (US$ 3.502 million), and S.A ( US$ 2.224 million).

The top five importing countries comprising the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa accounted for about 89.3% of total value of exports of the product from Ghana

Partnerships and investments in digital agriculture needed amid COVID-19 – Extension Director

The Director of Agriculture Extension Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Paul Siameh, has called for more investments in digital agriculture products to address current and emerging challenges.

He explained that the continuous collaboration between the government, development partners and the private sector towards the development of more digital solutions to reach farmers with climate-smart practices, improved inputs, information on post-harvest and other improved farming practices especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was critical in achieving Ghana’s food security through the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

Mr Siameh made the call during a virtual conference jointly organised by Farmerline, a Ghanaian agritech company, and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Accra.

The conference was on the theme: “Influencing farmer behaviour change: Relevant lessons for the new normal.”

He noted that the pandemic had limited face-to-face interactions between extension officers and farmers, hence the need to devise an innovative approach to reach farmers.

Read also Seed value chain actors sensitized on guidelines for implementing Seed Legislation in Ghana

Mr Siameh urged agritech companies to conduct more research and develop community-specific digital tools and applications to propel smooth dissemination of information to farmers in remote communities.

Ms Lily Akorfa Keledorme, the Head of Partner and Farmer Engagement at Farmerline, said COVID-19 had shown the importance of technology in extending services to farmers in diverse locations.

She stated due to Farmerline’s way of operating – adopting technology and digitising all of its operations – the company easily extended critical interventions to farmers and agents amid the COVID-19 era.

“With the existence of COVID, we cannot make ourselves available on the field every time so we must have systems like the Farmer Helpline so we can be able to support the farmers and install systems that agents can use to track the performance of farmers,” she said.

Read also Bongberi residents in Ghana appeal for dam for irrigation farming

Ms Keledorme said a study conducted by Farmerline also revealed that a blend of in-person training and digital tools play an important role in driving the adoption of best farming practices because “it is cost-effective and scalable.” She noted that 73% of them have started planning & allocating resources for the next season.

“I would want to reiterate that the blended approach of training farmers is something we should look at more because it deepens the engagement levels of farmers. It helps them to adopt the practices that we teach them and in this COVID era, digital tools will play a key role in helping farmers to increase their yields and profits,” she said.

Dr Rufaro Madakadze, the Senior Program Officer for Extension and Capacity Building Unit at AGRA, noted that the essence of employing digital tools in the delivery of essentials services to farmers through the Village Based Advisor (VBA) model, urging stakeholders in the agriculture sector to accept reality and switch to the new ways of doing things.

“AGRA has also adopted digital tools in reaching out to our agents and trainers and it makes it easier to reach out to more farmers in a large setting, delivering relevant content and information and preventing the transmission of COVID,” she said.

Mr Benjamin Fiafor Country Representative for Farm Radio International, underscored the power of radio in influencing the behaviour of farmers, saying “Up to 40 per cent of farmers who learn about a new practice through a radio program supported by Farm Radio International end up applying it on their farm.”

Read also Farmers benefit from COVID-19 response under TAATs

Mr Maxwell Olupot, the Partnerships, Planning and Learning Specialist at African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services called for collective action among stakeholders in the agriculture sector to empower more farmers through the evolving Farmer Business School approach to adopt best practices, improve yields, and ensure food security.

Farmers benefit from COVID-19 response under TAATs

The National Programme Coordinator of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP), Mr Felix Ngmenkaara Darimaani, has indicated that over 20, 000 smallholder farmers have been supported to cultivate about 38, 000 hectares of maize and soya.

He said under the COVID-19 response strategy of the programme, 15,000 farmers were also supported to cultivate 12, 000 hectares of rice, adding that out of the number, 3,600 hectares was in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region.

Addressing farmers, off-takers, processors, policy makers and implementers at a market access workshop at Fumbisi the Builsa South District capital, Mr Darimaani said with COVID-19, importation of rice would be a challenge.

“Therefore, government has developed strategies to develop rice production for which we have the potential. Processing facilities are being procured by the project to add value to rice produced.”

He said value chain infrastructure played a key role in Agriculture and therefore the need for such intervention.
Mr Darimaani said the TAATs programme was part of the SAPIP and the Savannah Investment Programme (SIP), implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Read also Bongberi residents in Ghana appeal for dam for irrigation farming

The projects are founded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the overall goal of the programme was to reduce the importation of animal protein, enhance competition of the poultry industry, improve small ruminants breeds and contribute to improved food and nutrition security.

Mr Sylvan Dauda Danaa, the Builsa South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) said with the support of SAPIP, MoFA in the District had acquired over 50 aggregators.

“So you will realise that this year, we have produced more than last year in terms of land space, but you are not hearing much about the hustle we got last year, because a lot of the aggregators have come.”

He said there were buyers for their produce at the Valleys adding “We are looking for sustainable marketing to link the farmers in the value chain.”

Mr Danaa said with the support of SAPIP and SIP, MoFA would create a data base to ensure synergy between farmers, aggregators, processors and marketers.

Read also Ghana: Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project to supply combine harvesters to rice farmers

Mr Richard Akuka, a farmer at the Fumbisi rice valleys said through SAPIP, farmers received seeds and fertilizers which supported them to increase their production.

He said even though the market for their produce had also improved with most buyers from the Southern part of the country, they could not buy all the rice, “We need processing millers like Avanash and others to also come and buy.”

Bongberi residents in Ghana appeal for dam for irrigation farming

The residents of Bongberi community in the Wa West District, have appealed to the government to consider providing the community with an irrigation dam to enable them, especially the youth to engage in dry season farming.

They said that would also help prevent the youth from travelling to the southern sector to engage in illicit activities such as illegal mining.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Bongberi, Madam Yaa Suuri, noted that due to the lack of other source of economic activity for the youth in the community, they had to travel to other parts of the country to seek non-existent greener pastures.

The President Akufo-Addo led government introduced the One-Village-One-Dam initiative to construct small dams in communities in the country to help improve irrigation farming, which would serve as a source of livelihood for the community folks.

Read also Seed value chain actors sensitized on guidelines for implementing Seed Legislation in Ghana

“After harvesting we don’t have anything doing. If we don’t burn charcoal we can’t get money to buy salt to cook. So if we have a dam we can farm tomatoes or okra and sell to get money,” Yaa explained.

According to her, the education of girl children in the community was no encouraging as they dropped out of school and travelled to the southern parts to engage in head potting, known as Kayayee.

“Because there is no work for parents to do and cater for their children, the girls go to men for money and the men in turn sleep with the girls and they end up becoming pregnant, their education is also truncated ”, Madam Suuri added.

Mr Gyirkaa Eric, another resident of the community, told the GNA that the lack of a dam in the community was also affecting their livestock as the animals did not get water to drink in the community in the dry season.

Read also Returnee migrants seek support to develop poultry farm project on two acre land

He said the animals had to move to other communities before they could get water, which also resulted to some of them getting missing in the process.

Meanwhile, Mr Gyirkaar Nicholas, the Assembly Member for the area, indicated that he was negotiating with the Wa West District Assembly for the assembly to construct a dam for the community.

Ghana: Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project to supply combine harvesters to rice farmers

The National Programme Coordinator of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP), Mr Felix Ngmenkaara Darimaani, says a contract has been awarded for the supply of 10 harvesters to farmers.

The SAPIP is implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to support government’s flagship programme, the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs,’ with funding from the African Development Bank.

The Project development objective is to transform the agricultural value chains for food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation.

Mr Darimaani said “Under our programme, SAPIP, we have already awarded contract for the supply of 10 harvesters. Five of them for maize and soya, and five crawler type that can enter even water to harvest.”

The Programme Coordinator disclosed this in a sideline interview with the Ghana News Agency at a market access workshop at Fumbisi, in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region.

He said the crawler combine harvesters, which had no tires, would enable the farmers to harvest their produce successfully devoid of the usual destruction caused to farm produce by combine harvesters with tires.

“We believe by the end of December, we should have them. The contract was awarded in August, and the supplier has 150 days to deliver. Unfortunately the procurement process is such that we could not award the contract much earlier.”

Mr Darimaani conceded that the number to be procured was not enough to solve the needs of farmers, and said “As a project, we are setting targets, we have certain resources allocated for certain activities.”

According to him, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture was committed to the procurement process, adding “He has been passionate about supporting the Ghanaian farmer to transform Agriculture not just only in the Savannah area, but the whole of Ghana.”

He said plans were underway by the Ministry to acquire more machines to cater for the entire production chain for farmers to produce efficiently to feed Ghana and export to other countries.

Mr Daniel Kwame Gariba, the Builsa South District Chief Executive (DCE) in a separate interview, said through the SAPIP, the rice valleys in the District were expanded, “This year alone, we are expanding it by 750 hectares. That will mean that more farmers will come on board.”

He said with the expansion of the valleys, farmers may be reluctant to produce more for fear of available markets to sell their produce.

On the essence of the workshop, the DCE said “I see it as an important one, this will provide a kind of assurance to the farmers that no matter the acres they do, government is poised in making sure that they have access to market.”

Seed value chain actors sensitized on guidelines for implementing Seed Legislation in Ghana

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in collaboration with USAID has organized a two-day workshop on “Development of Operational Guidelines for Seed Legislation in Ghana” for over 30 seed value chain actors at Akosombo, Eastern Region from 11 – 12 November, 2020.

The workshop forms part of support offered by AGRA and the USAID under the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) to the Government of Ghana to develop a sustainable private sector led seed system for the country.

Participants at the two-day workshop reviewed National Seed Legislation Sensitization and Implementation Guidelines prepared by Mr. Josiah Wobil, an International Seed Consultant and made recommendations for the way forward.

The participants were drawn from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), National Seed Traders Association of Ghana (NASTAG), Seed Producers Association of Ghana, West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement, Crop Research Institute, Savannah Agricultural Research Institute, the Farmers Organization Network of Ghana and the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), Nigeria.

Read also Returnee migrants seek support to develop poultry farm project on two acre land

Mr. Thomas Havor, President of NASTAG said it is important for all stakeholders to understand the seed legislation and make significant contributions to improve the industry.

“Mistakes in industry are due to the lack of understanding. The workshop has given us the opportunity to understand the seed legislation and make it easy for us to improve our operations to benefit all – seed producers, seed traders, farmers and food consumers,” Thomas said,

Mr. Folarin Sunday Okelola, Seed System Specialist from NASC gave an overview of the Nigerian seed system and shared experience on seed production and marketing in his country.

Read also Electronic Seed Demand Forecasting Tool launched to improve seed delivery in West Africa

He expressed NASC’s willingness to support Ghana with the operation of a National Seed Tracker for real time tracking of seed production and trade, quality management and e-certification of seed producers as well as an electronic seed authentication system (SEEDCODEX) which enables farmers and other seed users to instantly verify the authenticity and genuineness of seed before purchase and use.

Mr. Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, Coordinator of the Government of Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Programme delivered a statement on behalf of MoFA.

He said, the use of quality seed is of great importance to the PFJ which is a strategic means through which MoFA is promoting farmers’ access to and use of certified seeds. He expressed MoFA’s appreciation to AGRA and its partners for their continuous support to the seed sector in Ghana.

Read also First successful True Potato Seed (TPS) trial of Solynta and Solidaridad in Mozambique shows great potential

The participants after working in groups on the topical areas of Research and Variety Development; Seed Production; Marketing and Utilization; Oversight, Regulatory and Coordination; Budgetary Support, Mobilization and Sustainability adopted a set of recommendations to be implemented by relevant authorities in the seed sector.

The recommendations include the establishment of a Seed Development Fund; a National Awareness Campaign; development of technical papers on Strengthening Seed Quality Control and Certification, Strengthening the National Seed Council; Enhancing Research, Variety Release and Registration Process.

Read also Ghana to outdoor consolidated national conservation agriculture manual soon

Delivering the closing remarks, Mr. Forster Boateng, AGRA Regional Head for West Africa urged stakeholders in the seed sector to “give a last push” to the legislation to see development in the country’s seed sector. He said for the next 10 years, AGRA’s interventions in Ghana will focus on building momentum for a sustainable Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT) through strategic partnerships.

Returnee migrants seek support to develop poultry farm project on two acre land

The Dormaa East Migrants Association(DEMA) have appealed to individuals and organisations to assist the Association to build and develop a poultry farm project on a two-acre land it acquired at Akontanim in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.

The development of the poultry project is critical, crucial and fundamental as it would provide the basis on which major activities of the Association including; raising and creating awareness on irregular migration, undertaking clean-up campaigns, promoting quality education and health in the area would be funded.

Mr Forson Peprah, the Executive Secretary, Dormaa East Migrants Association (DEMA) said this at the second Anniversary celebration of the Association held in Wamfie in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.

The ceremony was attended by chiefs, opinion leaders, youth groups, civil society organisations, officials of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ghana, representative of ENI and a cross section of the public.

Recounting a brief history leading to the formation of the Association, Mr Peprah, himself a returnee migrant, said it started some two years ago at Akontanim.

He continued as its membership expanded to cover other communities like Wamfie, Wamanafo, Kyeremasu, Dormaa Akwamu and Asuotiano all in the Dormaa East District.

“We saw the need to draft a Constitution with a vision of empowering the youth and giving them hope, tackling unemployment, irregular migration and eradicating poverty and unemployment, promoting, advocating, generating and stirring up youth interest in modernised agriculture, combating bushfires as well as advocating good sanitation health practices,” he added.

The Executive Secretary thanked the ENI group for agreeing to collaborate in writing to the Association and signing an MoU to admit a total of 150 members for the next three years in their agribusiness training institution, Okuafo-Pa Agri-Business Training Centre at Kyeremasu starting with 50 people for the first batch.

Focusing on the achievements and successes of the Association, he said it had completed a place of convenience, undertaken clean-up exercises at Kyeremasu, Dormaa Ahenkro, Wamfie and Akontanim and supplied books to Akontanim Methodist JHS.

Read also Ghana to outdoor consolidated national conservation agriculture manual soon

“We plan to also venture into vegetable farming in the near future,” he added.

Mr Samuel Donkor, the Executive Chairman of the Association, indicated that the Association started as Libya Boys Association at Akontanim with the aim of creating awareness on irregular migration and sharing experiences on perilous journeys undertaken in Libya to warn potential migrants.

The Chairman who is also a returnee revealed that “10 people from the area had lost their lives in Libya travelling by illegal means”.

Mr Paul Twum Barimah, the Parliamentary aspirant for the NPP, Dormaa East Constituency, who represented the ENI Group, asked the youth to take their destiny into their own hands by charting a different course for their personal lives.

He said it was an illusion and deception for them to think that they could only prosper in foreign countries, when there were many and diverse economic opportunities awaiting them to tap into for the development of their individual lives, communities and the entire nation.

The Parliamentary aspirant promised to assist a 40-year old blind, ailing returnee migrant, who was also a member of the Association that shared a harrowing account on his travel to Libya and was touched by his story.

Mr Florian Braendli, the Project Manager, International Organisation for Migration, Ghana, described the phenomenon of irregular migration as bad but noted returnees deserved “respect from their resident communities”.

Read also Advans Ghana Savings and Loans equips 100 smallholder farmers cocoa, rice value chains

He said though it was commendable for members to venture into agriculture, they needed to do it with a mind to “respect nature”.

Nana Ama Yeboah, Akyempimhemaa of Akontanim, lauded members of the Association for changing their mind on using illegal travelling and deciding to share their experiences and stories with others in campaigns to warn potential migrants.

He advised them to expand their membership and activities to include; other communities, while ensuring they remained united in their pursuits to move their Association forward.

Ghana to outdoor consolidated national conservation agriculture manual soon

Ghana will soon get a Consolidated National Conservation Agriculture manual that will review the myriad of existing Conservation Agriculture manuals and develop a standardized one to serve as a one-stop reference document for stakeholders.

Conservation Agriculture is a sustainable approach to agricultural production aimed at protecting soil from erosion and degradation, improve its quality and biodiversity, contribute to the preservation of natural resources, water, and air, whilst improving yields.

Conservation Agriculture is based on three core principles: minimum soil disturbance, maintenance of permanent soil cover and use of crop rotations with a diversity of crop species.

Dr Jasmin Marston, the European Union Resilience Against Climate Change (EU-REACH) Project Manager, disclosed this in Wa during a three-day training workshop for planning officers and management of Information Systems officers in the Upper West, North East, and Savannah Regions of the country.

Dr Marston noted further that they had also begun mapping existing resources and land uses in some 18 communities, which is being used to design community land use maps that will aid in the development of Community Action Plan guidelines.

She noted that the workshop was aimed at equipping participants with skills in generating geographic data (geo-data) using mobile applications for data collection, map making, and geo-data management whilst building linkages with the planning officers to exchange information, replicate methodology and to help solve technical problems.

Read also Ghana: Prez Akuffo Addo launches the 2017/2018 Agric Census Report

The EU-REACH Project Manager noted that the training was the beginning of similar trainings to build the capacities of the Municipal District Planning and Coordinating Units (M/DPCUs), which would lead to the design of climate-smart development plans.

“The REACH project seeks to primarily address the negative impacts of climate change on communities in the North-West Zone”, she said.

Dr Marston noted that the project used a gender-sensitive approach in helping communities to adopt and sustain good agricultural practices and to assist the M/DPCUs in the development of environmentally sound Medium-Term Development Plans that contributed to the realization of Ghana’s International Commitment to the Paris Agreement on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Read also Advans Ghana Savings and Loans equips 100 smallholder farmers cocoa, rice value chains

REACH, which is part of the 2017 European Union Ghana Agriculture Project (EUGAP), started in January 2019 and will run until the end of 2024.

It is being implemented on behalf of the EU by the German Development Organization (GIZ)/Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew) with additional funding from the German Government and with close partnership and oversight of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans equips 100 smallholder farmers cocoa, rice value chains

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans Limited has trained and honoured 100 smallholder farmers in the cocoa and rice value chains.

The gesture formed part of the company’s continued support to the agricultural sector and in commemoration of the 2020 Farmers’ Day.

The two events took place in Oda in the Eastern Region and Weta in the Volta Region.

A statement from Advans Ghana said the Company has distributed farming equipment and tools valued at more than GHS 25,000.

These included Advans-branded knapsack sprayers, cutlasses, protective clothing, gloves, and wellington boots.

Read also 2020 Comprehensive Food Security And Vulnerability Assessment Survey

In partnership with MicroEnsure Ghana, it also enrolled the farmers onto a free one-year life insurance.

Advans Ghana with support from MicroEnsure, RMG and Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Company, also trained the farmers on financial inclusion, insurance and good agricultural practices to enable them to improve on their farming techniques and knowledge on accessing financial services and managing their finances. ​

The statement also said Advans Ghana was also supported by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to strengthen their agricultural financing activities.

Read also Ghana: Motivate the youth to go into Agriculture — Government Urged

Advans Ghana, the statement noted, emerged one of the key financial institutions to promote agriculture.

“The company is proud to have already served more than 17,000 smallholder farmers with a total value of GhS4.3 million as loans disbursed to small holder farmers in the rice, cocoa and cashew value chains,” it added.

The company’s commitment to unlock financial services for farmers through innovative approaches was recently rewarded during the “4th Sustainability and Social Investment Awards” Ceremony, as the “Best Company” in project promoting & supporting Agriculture and Agribusiness.

The goal of the institution in the coming years is to expand its outreach and into new value chains and develop more adapted products in partnership with key actors within the Agri value chains, the statement said.

Read also Ghana: Secure equitable living income for Cocoa Farmers — CSOs urge Government

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans Ltd is a subsidiary of the Advans Group head-quartered in Paris with presence in nine countries in Africa and Asia, serving more than one million clients.

In Ghana, Advans operates in 20 branches across eight regions with the head office located in Accra-Newtown. Advans Ghana’s mission is to provide client centric financial services to small businesses and under-served populations in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Ghana: Secure equitable living income for Cocoa Farmers — CSOs urge Government

In all countries where cocoa is grown, the sector is dominated by smallholder farmers, especially in Africa.

The recent cocoa barometer report, which depicts the distribution of the cocoa sector profits along its value chain, observed that unfair distribution of value and power in the cocoa value chain are part of the root causes of extreme poverty for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

At the same time, the cocoa supply chain is increasingly dominated by a select group of large corporations where mergers and takeovers have resulted in just a few companies dominating up to 80% of the whole value chain, while farmers lack a sufficiently organised voice to be strong actors.

CSOs in the cocoa sector from Ghana and Ivory Coast have urged government to secure living income for cocoa farmers to alleviate them from poverty.

Mr. Obed Owusu Addai, the Lead Campaigner for EcoCare Ghana reiterated that “despite all efforts aimed at improving the Cocoa Sector, the core of the problem is still not being addressed; the extreme poverty and lack of their voice debate.”

He observed that West African cocoa farmers live well below globally defined poverty levels. In Côte d’Ivoire – the world’s largest producer of cocoa – a farmer should earn four times his current income in order to reach the global poverty line of $2 a day.

“To achieve a sufficient level of income to cover basic needs of cocoa farmers, the Living Income Differential would probably need to be a lot higher than what farmers currently receive”.

He made the statement during a 2 days International Conference on Cocoa Pricing and Sustainability, organised by EcoCare Ghana in Accra.

Read also Ghana threatens to suspend cocoa companies’ sustainability schemes

The conference brought various stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Europe through online platform called Zoom®. Most of the participants were cocoa farmers, NGOs and private sector actors that operate in the cocoa supply chain.

Speaking on the theme, “Regulating Responsible Trade in Forest-risk Commodities- the Case of Cocoa in Ghana”, Mr. Clement Akapame, a Partner at Taylor Crabbe Law Firm advocated for a private sector-led initiative to address concerns in the cocoa value chain.

He stated that consumer and producer countries need to form voluntary partnerships aimed at ensuring sustainable cocoa production.

Mr. Antonie Fountain, of Voice Network, questioned how all the agreements and European Union measures will translate to ensuring farmers actually get the money in their pockets?

He was of the view that, “without proper mechanism for transparency and accountability, setting living Income Differential is Dangerous”.

Read also Ghana: Cocoa farmers urge government to intensify fight against illegal mining

He therefore urged governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast to ensure transparency in the money coming into their respective countries.

Ms Leticia Yankey, the founder of Cocoa Mmaa, a cooperative that seeks to empower female cocoa farmers, expressed concern about the lack of consultation of cocoa farmers during key decision making by governments, private sector and other key stakeholders in the cocoa value chain during policy formation and decision making.

She was grateful for the opportunity given to cocoa farmers, especially females to be part of the conference. She identified that one of the key contributing factors to cocoa farmers living below the poverty line is financial illiteracy.

She urges stakeholders to empower them on financial management to help boost their living income.

The conference was funded by ClientEarth, through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s (DfID) Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme. It was supported by Fern, Taylor Crabbe and the Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform.

Read also Ghana: CSOs urge Akufo-Addo not sign to GMOs Bill and save farmers

The Cocoa Conference aimed at clarifying the applicable regulatory frameworks governing cocoa production and trade, and bringing relevant stakeholders together to discuss and develop concrete workable strategies and roadmaps to address pricing challenges in the cocoa sector; with emphasis on guaranteeing sustainable cocoa production.

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