Sunday, September 18, 2011

28,000 women in Bimbila/ are active farmers-District Dir. Agric.

The women in the Nanumba North District Assembly have been encouraged to go into cashew production and bee keeping as alternative livelihoods activities to reduce extreme poverty among them.
“Though a larger number of women in the district were engaged in farming activities they are still wallowing in poverty and deprivation”, he said.
He said that about 28,000 women are active farmers and involved in agriculture businesses ranging from production, processing and marketing and were playing key role in the development of agriculture and food security.
The Nanumba North District Director of Agriculture Mr. Eugene Yelfaanibe who made call at a district partnership platform (DDP), an initiative by Ghana Communities Developing Association (GDCA) to ensure social accountability to facilitate development at local level.
Under the programme, all district development partners are brought together to deliberate on development policies and programmes being implemented to improve people’s livelihoods.
Mr. Yelfaanibe said that about 28,000 women in the district were engaged in farming, processing and marketing of agricultural products but were still living under abject poverty.
The Director said cashew and bee keeping programme which is new in the district was under the Blinda and gate’s Africa cashew farming programme and geared towards improving economic and social wellbeing of women in society.
The Director noted with concerns the problem women faced in acquiring land to undertake farming activities and appealed to men to release parcels of land to women to undertake cashew farming and bee keeping to augment their livelihoods activities to enable them cater for their wards.
The District Director disclosed that the district had cultivated 1,500 acres of maize, 500 acres of rice, 200 acres of soya beans and 35 acres of sorghum under the government block farm programme this year.
Farmers in the district according to the director could not access Northern Regional Growth Programme (NRGP) because there was no rural bank in the district and appealed to the authorities of the programme to make special provision for farmers in the district to help expand their production to increase food security.
He also appealed to the ministry of agriculture to as a matter of urgency resource his office to facilitate easy monitoring to improve security in the district.
The field officer of GDCA, Mr. Ibrahim Abudu explained that the district partnership platform is an initiative to monitor and check development progress in the beneficiary district.
The organisation, he said release GHc 1,200 every quarter to the beneficiary district bring together stakeholders in development to deliberate and share opinions on the how the districts were faring in terms of development and social justice.
The programme is aimed to ensure social accountability, facilitate collaboration, to aid development at the grass root levels in five beneficiary districts including Tolon/Kunbumgu, Tamale Metropolitan, Yendi Municipal, and Karaga district.  The programe would be expanded to cover another ten districts by next year as part of the organization’s plans to encourage accountability and popular participation of governance.

NRGP assembles agric experts to develop agric business in Ghana

The Secretariat of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), established by the government to fight extreme poverty among farmers in northern Ghana has assembled a core working group of agricultural experts to work out modality to improve agricultural business in Ghana.
The working group would among other things formulate plans to promote agricultural business sector through the use of value chain techniques to make sector attractive segment the teaming unemployed youth.
The group, which comprises 42 agric-business experts, projects, consultants and organizations, and value chain experts, is to ensure the institutional arrangements that provide information and use of value chain techniques that would add values to agricultural products.
The group is also mandated to seek innovations in value chain financing, marketing of value chain produce and products and help train farmers and agriculture stakeholders how to mange business partnership in value chain development and to seek how agricultural commodity value chain would impact positively the rural poor farmers in Ghana.
The National Coordinator of NRGP Mr. Roy Ayariga disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer after the end of a two-day consultative forum on value chain practices held in Tamale.
The forum was under the theme; “professionalizing value chain practices in Ghana” and organized by the northern Rural Growth Programme, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and African Development Bank (AFDB) was parts of efforts to collate views, resources and professional ideas to develop a viable market for agriculture commodities to support poverty reduction among farmers.
Mr. Ayariga who was optimistic the group would work for the betterment of agric business indicated that the core aimed was to empower local farmers to produce more to feed the nation and for export.
“This will empower farmers economically when a market is developed for agric produces”
He explained that Ghanaian farmers over the years have been battling with poverty and deprivation because there was no viable market for their farms produces.
  Mr. Ayariga stressed that NRGP was established by the government of Ghana and her partners to empower farmers and create a viable market and links to their products to fight poverty among them.
The value chain expert Mr. Pascal Dere with NRGP said adopting best practices in value chain would drastically improve the living conditions of farmers at the same times encourage large scale crops cultivation.  
“The value chain practices are working elsewhere and empowered farmers in these countries and that can be done in Ghana too”, he said.

Government urges to ensure satisfied crop seeds supply to farmers

Agricultural experts at a two-day training workshop on food security have urged the government to lead role in researching diseases resistance and high yielding improved crop seeds if the country is to remain food sufficient in the wake of climate change.
According to the experts, food production in the country would dwindle in the coming years due effects of climate change and that the country is likely to suffer from extreme famine should farmers continue to rely on local grains or genetically modified seeds which could not withstand the changing climatic conditions and diseases prone.
 It is against this background that they have recommended joint research effort between the government and crop seeds production companies or institutions to come out with high yielding, diseases resistance and short period fruiting crops to enable farmers cope with the climate change effects.
The workshop which was organized by Community Life Improvement Programme (CLIP), a local NGO championing climate change campaign in northern region was aimed to develop strategies that would help ensure food security in the wake of climate change.
The participants include Agricultural extension agents,  agric and climate change experts, seed production institutions, NGOs in Agriculture, environment and climate change among others deliberated on climate change and coping strategies for local farmers.
It was also used to discuss issues affecting food security in Ghana and how to mitigate effects of climate change on agric to ensure sustained food supply in the country.
Speaking in an interview with the Enquirer, CLIP personnel in-charge of Food and Security Mr. Lukman Yussif explained that the workshop was parts of efforts to improve food production.
It was also to help prepare local farmers against climate change and adopt coping strategies to sustain food production and supply throughout the country.
He explained that research show that food production particularly rice and maize has reduced significantly for the past two years because of non availability of improved seeds, coupled with emergence of climate change hence the need for the country to prepare her farmers against effects of climate change.
He observed with concerns that majority of farmers were planting un-improved seeds or seeds which qualities could not be determining coupled with unavaibility of farm inputs dwindling food production.
He however appealed to the government to ensure that crop seeds supply to farmers are satisfied, diseases resistance, and high yielding to ensure continue supply of food in the country.