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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – March 2, 2015

2015 March 2
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Government Secures $145million for Agric Sector
The government has secured a $145-million credit facility from the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help transform the agricultural sector into a vibrant commercial sector. The  facility is for the implementation of the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) in the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zone and parts of the Volta, Greater Accra and Eastern regions. The GCAP is to support farmers in the SADA zone to cultivate maize, rice and soya, while those in the Accra Plains and Eastern and Volta regions will be supported to go into vegetable, fruit, maize and rice production. To ensure the success of the programme, 10,000 hectares best suited for the development of improved rain-fed agriculture has been identified and developed in the Nasia-Nabogo Valley in the Northern Region for rice production.

Why Agriculture and Agribusiness can Change Africa’s Story
Plunging cocoa prices in the past few months have been a major worry for more than 700,000 farmers located in the lush green forests of Ghana who depend on this cash crop to feed themselves and provide education and health to their families. But the inadequate capacity of Ghana to add more value to a large quantity of its cocoa is even more a bigger issue. Global demand for chocolate is expected to grow 25 percent by 2020, so cocoa prices will eventually recover. But cocoa farms must increase Ghana’s share of the final retail price of chocolate, which is only 5% at present. By increasing the country’s processing capacity, farmers in these countries can increase their incomes and create more critical jobs in the process. Ghana’s cocoa example mirrors the overall condition of Africa’s export commodities. Africa still exports more raw agricultural produce with little or no value addition.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 23, 2015

2015 February 23
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on Agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Agric Support must Target Farmers - President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama has taken a strong position against agricultural programmes that are packaged to benefit technocrats, at the expense of farmers. "The direct benefits should go to farmers," he said, insisting that his government would not hesitate to reject any agricultural programme that took away the direct benefits from farmers and gave them to technocrats. "Technocrats in developing countries and mission support staff are happy to package programmes like these because of who the benefits go to," he said. Delivering the keynote address at the opening of the 38th Session of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Italy, yesterday, the President indicated that he had kept a close eye on his Cabinet to ensure that the benefits of various agricultural programmes were not taken away from farmers, so that the agenda to transform the rural areas of Ghana became a reality.

Ghana to Learn New Agric Techniques from Israel
Ghana’s Ambassador to the State of Israel, Mr. Ernest Lomotey, has stated that improved agricultural technology is one of its focuses for further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. He said such aspects of bilateral relations would help Ghana produce all year round and the mission was working towards establishing a convergence between Israel’s accomplishments in agriculture and Ghana’s desire to expand productivity in this sector.  Mr. Lomotey said Israel was known for its agricultural technology with half of all its agricultural land irrigated. “Israel has the highest proportion of agricultural land under irrigation worldwide which is a very remarkable success worth learning from.”

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 16, 2015

2015 February 16
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on Agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
World Bank to Revive Agriculture in Ebola hit Countries
The World Bank Group has mobilized 15 million dollars to provide 10,500 tons of maize and rice seeds to over 200,000 farmers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for the April planting season to avert hunger, which has hit these countries. This has become necessary because the Ebola crisis had taken a heavy toll on the economies in all three countries, and the agriculture and food sectors have been particularly hard hit. The funds, in the form of grants financed by the International Development Association (IDA) and the Ebola Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, will also be used to purchase fertilizer required to multiply foundation seed to meet tight planting season deadlines and help lay the foundations for sustained recovery. A statement from the World Bank Group copied to the Ghana News Agency explained that latest estimates by FAO and the World Food Programme, has showed that in Guinea, 230,000 people were food insecure and that number could rise to more than 470,000 by March 2015.

Africa Needs Paradigm Shift in Agric -  Fifi Kwetey
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Fifi Kwetey, has called for a paradigm shift in the approach to agriculture in Africa to enable it to benefit from its potential. “To realize this golden age of Africa’s agriculture which is a prerequisite for Africa’s Golden Economic Age, there must be a paradigm shift in the approach to agriculture,” he said, adding that, “The shift must not only be at the level of leadership but also at the level of the small farmer and the African population as a whole.”  Mr. Kwetey, who made the call when he addressed an annual lecture under the auspices of the Centre For Values In Leadership in Nigeria on the topic - Food Security and Poverty Alleviation, said, “That shift must bring about the realization that what we have all along viewed as massive problems are indeed seeds of opportunity.”

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 9, 2015

2015 February 9
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Below are some current developments on Agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Agricultural Stakeholders Finalise Seed Policy Implementation Plan
Ghana adopted a National Seed Policy to guide development of the national seed sector in 2013 (June), but without an implementation plan it remains only a collection of statements of intention and exerts no influence. The seed implementation plan is expected to create an environment conducive for the orderly growth and comprehensive, balanced development of the seed industry. To this end, the 3rd and final edition of a series of consultative workshops was held in Accra to validate a National Seed Plan by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) with support from USAID’s Agriculture….Dr. Kwasi Ampofo, AGRA Country Head, said AGRA invests in creating transformational changes across the entire agricultural value chain in 17 sub-Saharan African countries; and AGRA’s Programme Seed Systems (PASS) has been investing in the seed sector from production to marketing and collaborates with….

Agric Students Appeal to Government  for Employment
Students of Agricultural Colleges in the country have appealed to the government to directly offer them employment after completing their education. Currently, there are five state agriculture colleges in the country, namely: The Kwadaso and Ejura agricultural colleges in the Ashanti Region, the Damongo Agricultural College and Pong Veterinary College in the Northern Region and the Ohawo Agricultural College in the Volta Region. The National Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Agricultural College Students’ Union of Ghana (ACSU), Mr. Benjamin Ginab, who made the appeal in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said offering direct employment for agricultural students after completing their education was a positive step to reduce graduate unemployment and also boost agriculture. He said such an opportunity would also make it attractive for students to pursue courses at the agricultural institutions and improve farmer/ agricultural extension and veterinary officer ratio.

Industry Demand Spurs Corn, Sorghum Production
Beverage producers in the country have steadily increased their sourcing of local raw materials for their existing and new products, a development that has helped curb the perennial post-harvest losses farmers have had to endure. Maize, cassava, and Sorghum are the leading crops sourced by beverage companies for production. Corn production dipped slightly from 1.9million metric tonnes (MT) in 2012 to 1.6million/MT in 2013. Corn production in 2014 was about 1.8million/MT. Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) sources locally grown sorghum, maize and cassava for the production of its renowned brands Root Extra, Star Regular and Star Lite. Mr. Peter Ndegwa, Managing Director of GGBL said: “There are three crops we source locally -- cassava, maize and sorghum. Those are the three crops we will continue to source in the future. Maize is an important ingredient.

Zoomlion Ghana to Start Large-scale Farming in Volta Region
Zoomlion Ghana Limited and the Jospong Group of Companies are to initiate large-scale farming in the Volta Region this year. Already, the company has acquired land at Adaklu, Ho, Jasikan, Kadjebi and Hohoe for the agricultural project.  In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Volta Regional Manager of Zoomlion, Mr. Evans Ewudzie Arthur, said the company was acquiring agricultural machinery for the commencement of the project.  Already, the company has begun a cocoa nursery at Shia in the Ho West District, from which it has nursed and sold 120,000 seedlings…. To prevent a situation where the company would rely solely on the government, Mr. Arthur said it was maximizing its profits through collaboration with district assemblies to collect revenue for the assemblies and manage their toilet facilities and car parks. The welfare of workers, according to him, was paramount to the ….

University of Energy Initiates Project to Boost Maize Farming
In an effort to help boost maize production in the Brong Ahafo Region, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in collaboration with its foreign partners has initiated a project to support farmers with a spectrum of innovative technologies and inputs. The project is a concerted product of UENR, University Molise-Italy, Gulu University-Uganda, and Bioeconomy, an Ethiopian-based NGO. It is also being executed in Uganda and Ethiopia. The implementation of the project, “Centre for Innovative and Technology Dissemination (CITED)”, will see researchers and crop scientists mentor more than 20 model farmers as trainers of trainers for maize farmers’ field schools within the transitional zone of the region - Techiman and Nkoranza.

New Study Proves Coffee is Practically Medicinal
The next time someone gives you shit about your coffee addiction, you don’t have to lie about how many cups you’ve had: A new study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London in the U.K. suggests that three or four cups of coffee a day could reduce your risk of endometrial cancer by upwards of 19 percent. To pinpoint potential cancer-fighters, researchers examined the diets and health records of more than 456,000 women, including 1,303 women with endometrial cancer involved in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, and 1,531 women with endometrial cancer involved in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) or Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). While the data is pretty convincing (and the world could always use another reason to love coffee), this research only shows a correlation, not causation. Researchers still don’t know exactly how coffee could reduce the….

Challenges in Promoting Export Diversification
Ghana in most parts of its post-independence era pursued an industrialisation strategy based on import substitution. By late 1960 a clear picture of a manufacturing sector characterised by high geographical concentration, high production costs, low value-added capacity, underutilisation, and high import content of industrial output had emerged….Ghana has been exporting unprocessed agricultural commodities, food items or raw materials since independence. If these items can be processed before being exported, more value will be added to them, and this could form the beginning of the manufacturing process. Developing an export commodity requires a lot of funds and financing becomes crucial. Therefore, to assist exporters break into the export market, government must come up with packages of financial incentives designed to help in the development of manufacturing and export diversification.

Reports/Articles
Food Security in the Midst of Our Mined Lives: Perspectives on Food Security and Mining in the Asutifi District of Ghana
J Opoku-Ware, N Kutor - Journal of Sustainable Development Studies, 2015
Mining inevitably impacts the livelihoods of mining communities in a number of ways. Effects on food production and ultimately food security have been argued variously in the literature. In this study, the mining operations in the Asutifi district and its relationship with supply of foodstuffs in the local district markets as well as food insecurity are analysed. Using quantitative techniques, semi-structured questionnaires were distributed to 150 respondents in the Asutifi district and responses analysed using frequencies, Cross tabulation, Chi-Square (χ2) and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The study found out that crop yield has reduced since mining started and residents largely attributed it to fertility loss from mining activities…

Understanding the Policy Landscape for Climate Change Adaptation
N Aberman, R Birner, E Haglund, M Ngigi, S Ali… - 2015
In the context of increasing vulnerability to climate change for people dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, the International Food Policy Research Institute and partner organizations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, and Bangladesh undertook a project broadly aiming to create knowledge that will help policymakers and development agencies to strengthen the capacity of male and female smallholder farmers and livestock keepers to manage climate-related risks. This study - one component of the project-examines the networks and power dynamics of stakeholders in the four target countries so as to (1) identify potential partners in the research process, (2) find out which organizations could make use of the research findings in their activities, and (3) inform the communication and outreach strategy of the research project. This paper describes the network structures for climate change policy, the actors in the networks with high centrality and influence scores, and the implications of these results for outreach and dissemination.

Value Chains and Nutrition
A Gelli, C Hawkes, J Donovan, J Harris, S Allen… - 2015
Income growth alone cannot solve the problem of malnutrition and may in fact create problems linked to overweight and obesity. The challenge from the nutrition perspective is how to sustainably improve the quality of diets, as well as other health-nutrition related behaviours, across different populations and age groups? In nutrition debates in developing countries there is growing interest in the capacity of the private sector to contribute to improved nutrition outcomes. Discussions have incorporated thinking around value chain frameworks, which emerged in the late 1990s to help development actors design interventions that responded to the needs of the private sector and contributed to development outcomes. Value chain approaches can provide useful frameworks to examine the food system and the potential to achieve improved nutritional outcomes by leveraging market-based systems. However, understanding the links between value chains, the overall business environment in which they operate, and nutrition among targeted populations is complex, involving actors and activities working across agriculture, health and…

Exploring the Potential of Bambara Groundnut, an Under-utilised African Legume species, towards Food Security in Africa
YY Muhammad - African Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology …, 2014
In a world faced with numerous problems, such as, population growth, poverty, hunger and malnutrition,etc. efforts to improve food production amidst global climate change are necessary. Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea L. Verdc.) is a leguminous crop native to Africa with great potentials towards food and nutritional security and poverty eradication. It is an underutilized/neglected plant species and has seen little research towards improvement. The nutritional composition of Bambara groundnut surpasses that of many other legume crops. Its protein and mineral content in addition to its content of some of the amino acids normally limiting in many cereals could make it an excellent adjunct to nutritional security. The species is also known to be drought tolerant and thrives in poor soils surpassing related species in low input agricultural systems. With appropriate research efforts towards its…

The Health Effects of Women Empowerment: Recent Evidence from Northern Ghana
KL Ross, YA Zereyesus, A Shanoyan… - International Food and …, 2015
Women empowerment could be the key to unlocking women’s productivity potential in Africa. Women’s contribution to the agricultural sector is greatly influenced by their health status. This paper examines the impact of women’s empowerment in agriculture on women’s health and the implications for the African food and agricultural sector. It utilizes a unique dataset from a 2012 survey of 2,405 women in northern Ghana and the Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes modeling approach. Findings provide insight on how gender-sensitive policies and private-public initiatives can translate into better health outcomes for women and improved capacity to meet future needs of food and agriculture in Africa. Initiatives focusing on increasing women’s membership in social and economic groups, easing women’s access to credit, and increasing women’s incomes are some key….

Influence of Cowpea Lines As Green Manure on Growth and Yield of Carrots in Root-Knot Nematode Infested Soil
FK Appiah, JK Tufuor, FNY Codjoe - Journal of Natural Sciences Research, 2015
An experiment was conducted at the University of Education, Winneba, Mampong-Ashanti campus to determine the effect of some cowpea lines as green manure on the growth and yield of carrot in root-knot nematode infested soil. Randomized complete block design with five treatments and four replications was used. The treatments were cowpea lines IT97K-570-18; IT97K-566-18; and IT00K-1150 as green manure, N.P.K (15, 15, 15) and control. The results showed negative correlation between root-knot nematode infestation and growth and yield parameters of carrot. The various cowpea green manure treatments and NPK (15, 15, 15) fertilizer significantly (p<0.05) improved the vegetative growth of carrot plants. Carrots from plots incorporated with cowpea line IT97K-570-18 produced significantly higher root yield than the control. Root-knot nematode infestation on carrot was lowest from…

Poverty Level of Cassava Flakes (GARI) Marketers in Osogbo Agricultural Zone, Osun State, Nigeria
MO Adetunji, O Amao - Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 2015
This study examined the poverty level of cassava flakes (gari) marketers in Orolu, Boripe and Egbedore local government areas in Osun state. A multi-stage sampling method was employed to select one hundred and eighty (180) respondents. Analytical tools employed in the study include the descriptive statistics, FGT P-alpha, budgetary, and ordinary least squares regression. Findings revealed that nearly all (96.7%) the study respondents were female. Respondents’ mean age was 43.98 years (economic active age) and the mean household size was 9 members. Also 76.7 percent of the marketers had some level of formal education, while 23.3% had no formal education. 28% of the marketers were living below the poverty line. The poverty headcount, poverty gap and severity indexes of the marketers were 28%, 11.6% and 6.0% respectively. Marital status and household size were negatively significantly …

Farmers’ Perceptions on Climate Change: A Step toward Climate Change Adaptation in Sylhet Hilly Region
M Kamruzzaman - 2015
The main objective of the study was to determine and describe the perception of climate change of farmers. The study was conducted at Sreemangal and Baralekha Upazilla of Moulovibajar district. Three villages from each upazilla were selected as the specific study location. A sample of 150 respondents (20%) was randomly selected from a total population of 800 farmers. Data were collected from the sampled respondents throughout July-August, 2013 through interview schedule. Most of the farmers (69.3%) perceived that climate change started between last 5 to15 years. Almost half of the farmers (48.0%) believe that environmental factor is responsible for climate change than supernatural factor. They felt that both rainy season and cold season delays to start but ends early. Mean duration of both seasons has been significantly reduced in recent past than long time ago. Hot season shows opposite….

Status and Management of Water in Rainfed Agriculture
PK Sharma, M Kumar - Efficient Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture, 2014
Rainfed agriculture is the future hope of food and nutritional security globally and at national level. There are two reasons for it. One, large potential exists to meet present and future food demand through increased productivity, as a large gap exists between potential and actually achieved rainfed crop yields, and there is a scope to narrow it down through proper water and soil management. Studies have shown that there is a 100% yield increase potential in rainfed agriculture in developing countries compared to only 10% increase potential in irrigated agriculture (Pretty and Hine 2001). However, productivity improvement and expansion in rainfed agriculture in developing countries have remained rather slow compared to irrigated agriculture (Rosegrant et al. 2002). Two, larger chunk of cultivated area is still rainfed, while irrigated areas have started showing fatigue in terms of crop productivity…

 

Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 2, 2015

2015 February 2
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on Agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
‘Decline in Soil Fertility, Threat to Food Security’
Decline in soil fertility, particularly in the northern parts of Ghana, has raised concern about the national food security. The situation, according to Dr. Shashidhara Kolavalli, Senior Research Fellow  at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), , is partly the result of farming practices that lead to  over-cropping. “Current agricultural practices ‘mine’ soil nutrients in the sense that nutrients extracted from soils through crops are not adequately replenished,” he stated while addressing journalists at an event on soil fertility management for Ghanaian agriculture. Dr. Kolavalli informed the journalists of the arrival of a team of 10 experts in the country to offer recommendations to the government on how to solve challenges associated fertility management in Ghana.

‘Let’s Remove Stigma Attached to Agric’
Participants in a roundtable discussion on youth, employment and agriculture have asked that a more strenuous effort be made to change the perception of the youth about agriculture. Members also expressed concern about the lack of interest of the youth in agriculture. They observed a tendency among the youth to shy away from agriculture for the fear of some social stigma that is perceived to come with the involvement in agriculture. As an example they cited school teachers making children to do weeding as punishment. Besides, agriculture remains constrained by the lack of land, funds and ready market for their produce. “The bane of Ghana’s agriculture is the lack of access to a market,” said Mr. Mawuli Agboka of the Ministry of Agriculture, who was a member of the audience.

Ghana Trades Domestic Cocoa Processing for Foreign Exchange
For the want of foreign exchange, Ghana has over the years diligently exported over 75 per cent of total annual cocoa beans, leaving domestic processors of the crop to jostle for the remaining 25 per cent. Although the export of the beans earns the country a minimum of about US$1.7 billion in foreign exchange yearly, it constrains growth in each of the six major processing companies, partly causing them to limit the industry's installed capacity to the current 450,000 tonnes per annum.  The decision of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to export more of the cocoa beans as against processing is influenced by the premium price paid for the main crop in the international cocoa market. The main crop beans, which constitute about 80 per cent of a season’s produce, fetch a premium price of 80-90 pounds sterling in addition to prevailing price per tonne on the international cocoa market.

India Gives Ghana $150m Line of Credit for Agriculture
The Government of India has given Ghana a $150 million line of credit to support the country’s agriculture sector, according to a report by the Indo-Asian News Service. According to the report, the fund would go to support the implementation of an Agricultural Mechanization Service Centre (AMSEC), and the projects are intended to provide the Ghanaian farmers with affordable and timely access to farm machinery. Ghana’s Interior Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo was cited in the report to have said that India has also provided another $30 million line of credit to be used for the rehabilitation and upgrade of potable water in Yendi in the northern region…

B-BOVID's Unique Agric Model Worth Learning from - FAO's Africa Representative
The Deputy Africa Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Dr. Lamourdia Thiombiano, has commended B-BOVID, an agri-business company operating in Ghana's Western Region for its innovative and unique agric model that seeks to promote sustainable agriculture, food security, and eliminate poverty amongst farmers. He thus lauded the company's profit-sharing component, stating that, “It is a difficult task for any businessman to share profit” and encouraged other businesses particularly in the agric sector, to consider the profit sharing model to improve farmers' standards of living. Dr. Thiombiano who is also Ghana's Representative at the FAO, gave the commendation when he visited B-BOVID to familiarize himself with the operations of the company and its various models adopted to make agriculture more attractive and dignifying.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Recommends New Maize Varieties
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has recommended two new hybrid maize seeds suitable for improved yields and productivity. It said the Abontem and Omankwa, varieties of seeds have high disease resistance, and favorable for all weather patterns. Mr. Michael Addai, Agricultural Extension Officer at the Nkoranza South Municipal Directorate of MOFA, gave the recommendation when he addressed about 20 maize farmers at a trainer of trainers’ workshop at Fiapre, near Sunyani. The workshop was organised by the Centre for Innovation and Technology Dissemination secretariat of the University of Energy and Natural Resources. It formed part of a three-year project the university, in collaboration with the University of Molise in Italy, University of Guru in Uganda, and Bio-Economy an international non-governmental organisation in Ethiopia are implementing in Brong-Ahafo Region.

Agric Policies must Base on Research – Experts
Agricultural experts have cautioned that the rolling out of agric policies solely for political purposes will negatively impact the sector. They say it’s about time that the government, to set out the guidelines for the African Union on policy adoption in the agricultural sector, should take into consideration the information generated through research before rolling out policies. “What that seeks to do, is to move away from a situation where politicians stand on platforms, make statements which become policies. There is no evidence that it has worked before, there is no evidence that it has the potential to work. But just to play to the gallery, a statement is made and is adopted as policy,” Kwaku Owusu Baah of the USAID’s “Feed the Future Project” said.

US$50m Fund to Transform Lives of Rural Farmers
US$50million challenge fund aimed at transforming lives by increasing access to financial services for at least one million financially excluded people living in rural and agricultural areas of Africa has been announced in Accra. To be run for seven years and spearheaded by MasterCard Foundation in broad collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Fund will seek to develop solutions that drive inclusive growth in Africa by broadening access and usage of digital financial services. The Fund will be managed by KPMG International Advisory Services and accept innovation proposals until March 20, 2015 for projects. The project will cover eight countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Hunger in Africa could End in Next Decade – UN
Africa could eliminate hunger by 2025 if countries embraced effective policies on job creation, political stability, and social protection, a UN official has said. “Countries in Africa are making significant progress toward ending hunger, there is a high level of political commitment,” James Tefft, a senior policy officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Some business leaders meeting in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum backed that view. Economic breakthroughs over the next 15 years will “improve the lives of people in poor countries faster than at any other time in history,” the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in an open letter released Jan. 21.

University Implements 70,000 Euro Agricultural Project
The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in partnership with University of Molise in Italy, and Guru University in Uganda are implementing 70,000 -Euro project to improve agriculture productivity. The three-year project dubbed: “Strengthening innovations and technology dissemination for sustainable development in cereals and cocoa,” is being implemented in Techiman, Nkoranza South and Asunafo North Municipalities of Brong-Ahafo Region. It is targeting 40 cocoa and maize farmers in the beneficiary districts. The Reverend Dr Phyllis Opare, Operational Unit Assistant of the Project, and a lecturer at the UENR, who made this known explained that the scheme would supply maize and cocoa farmers with fertilizers, farm inputs and other implements free of charge…

Cassava Processing Group to Benefit from Training
The Manchi Women Cassava Processing Group in the Ga West District is to benefit from a training programme in processing of quality cassava products. With a grant from the Council for Technical Vocation Education and Training (COTVET), the Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research would train the women in the processing of high quality cassava flour, soya gari, starch and tapioka, a local cereal. The diversity of secondary products cassava offers makes it a very useful root crop. However, once harvested, cassava roots are highly perishable and signs of deterioration begin to appear after a few days. Apart from its use as food, cassava is very versatile and its derivatives and starch are applicable in many types of products such as foods, confectionery, sweeteners, glues, plywood, textiles, paper, biodegradable products, monosodium glutamate, and drugs.

Fishermen Asked to Respect Fisheries Regulations
Companies operating international vessels in Ghana’s territorial waters have been urged to declare all their catch and pay the appropriate tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority. Dr Benjamin Campion, Lecturer at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, who gave the advice, noted that bigger vessels fishing in local waters are normally given a quota, and when they flout it there is a penalty for them to pay. He said, however, some deliberately declare the stock “as accidental catch” thereby evading penalty, making the nation to lose revenue and this impact negatively on the economy. He was speaking at a day’s validation workshop on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing popularly known in the fishing circles as “Saiko” an illegal fish trade at sea that is gradually gaining grounds among fishermen…

Falling Commodity Prices on the World Market
Crude oil is a commodity that does not have firm substitutes, and because it does not have reliable alternatives, consumers have no choice. Consumers cannot afford to dispense with crude oil because in the language of the economist, demand for it is inelastic. Besides, crude oil is a strategic commodity… Prices of energy, metals, minerals and agricultural raw materials dropped by 35 per cent from 2011 to 2014. The fall in commodity prices has been attributed to more supplies and drop in demand for those goods and because the American dollar, the  most preferred hard currency, has gained strength following America’s exit from the great global recession and strong economic growth in the US. “Global supply and demand conditions have conspired to generate lower price expectation for all the nine World Bank commodity price indices – an extremely rare occurrence,” a member of the World Bank…

Gomoa Kumasi Gari Producers get Support
The Gomoa West District Chief Executive, Mr. Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, has presented two sealing machines worth GH¢700 to gari producers at Gomoa Kumasi to enable them to package their produce properly for the market. The major occupation of the people in the area is gari processing and the produce is sold at nearby market centres. The donation was made in response to a request made by the gari producers when the DCE met and interacted with them sometime ago. Mr. Aidoo-Mensah said that the machines were to assist them to package their produce to make it attractive to buyers. He also said under a Rural Enterprises Programme established by the government with support from the Business Advisory Centre (BAC), which is in all districts across the country, small and medium-scale enterprises would be supported to grow their businesses.

Private Sector Protests G-CAP Implementation
The Joint Consultative Committee on Private Sector Stakeholders has expressed dissatisfaction with statements by some people in authority that the G-CAP programme would be implemented at all cost. A press release issued recently in Accra, which was jointly signed by John Awuni, an Executive Member of Food & Beverages Importers Association of Ghana and George Kwaku Ofori, President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), among others, criticized the decision to carry on with the programme despite concerns by other stakeholders. “We view this deliberate act as an imposition of the programme on Ghanaians in spite of the flaws and we, in the business community, have also resolved to resist the imposition of this questionable programme vehemently,” the group noted… “What will be the fate of the majority of the informal sector traders who ply their trade in the sub-region as they practically cannot access the certificate of conformity?”

OFAB Ghana Holds Workshop For Tamale Students On Biotechnology
About 80 selected students drawn from 8 senior high schools within the Northern Region have benefited under a 1-day sensitization workshop on Biotechnology at the Nyankpala campus of the University of Development Studies in Tamale. They were ten participants each drawn from eight selected schools within Tamale, Tolon and Kumbungu respectively in the Northern Region. “It was well fashioned to sensitize students on job prospects in the field of Biotechnology and to encourage them to enroll in the subject for a better future” Dr. Margaret Ottah Atikpo, Focal Person of OFAB-Ghana Chapter has said. Biotechnology is the use of scientific methods to produce genetically modified food crops that are more pest, disease and drought resistant and with short maturity periods. It is a technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives to make or modify products…

Reports/Articles
Willingness to Adopt Certifications and Sustainable Production Methods among Small-Scale Cocoa Farmers in the Ashanti Region of Ghana
R Aidoo, I Fromm - Journal of Sustainable Development, 2015
The main objective of this research project was to identify current cocoa production practices and determine the principal factors that affect the adoption of sustainable farming practices and socio-environmental certifications among small-scale cocoa farmers in Ghana. The study was conducted in two cocoa districts (Atwima Mponua and Ahafoano North) in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. A combination of stratified, systematic and random sampling techniques was employed to select 439 cocoa producing households for the study. A standardized structured questionnaire was used to gather field data through personal interviews. Results showed that membership in farmers’ organizations, awareness of certification and size of cocoa farm were the main determinants of willingness to adopt sustainable cocoa production methods and certifications. Whereas membership in farmer-based organizations and awareness about different aspects related to certification had a significant positive effect on adoption of cocoa certification, farm size tended to have a significant negative effect on adoption of certification…

Climate and Development Outlook
K Network - 2014
The impacts of climate change in Africa will be significant and long-term (see for example www.cdkn.org/ar5-toolkit for some headline messages for Africa). Long-lived infrastructure and development planning are likely to be particularly affected. Factoring climate change into their design and implementation is, therefore, vital to development outcomes. Yet we know very little about how long-term climate information is used in African decision-making. While seasonal climate information is increasingly embedded in development and humanitarian actions across Africa, our knowledge of the barriers to, and opportunities for, the uptake of long-term climate information is comparatively scant. It is this know it is this knowledge gap that the Future Climate For Africa (FCFA) scoping phase seeks to fill.  FCFA is a five-year international research programme jointly funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The programme aims to advance scientific understanding of sub-Saharan African climate….

Socio-Economic Impacts Of Ebola On Africa
ON AFRICA - 2015
The Ebola virus disease (EBOLA) outbreak in West Africa has the worst death toll since the disease was diagnosed in 1976. It also has far-reaching socioeconomic consequences. Although the disease is still unfolding, several studies on those impacts have been conducted since the disease broke out in West Africa, including those by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Country Reports have been prepared by United Nations Country Teams (UNCT) under the leadership of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country offices and the World Health Organization (WHO). But fewer reports have focused on West Africa, and virtually none on the African continent. Moreover, most early prospects and projections on EBOLA’s socioeconomic impacts were based on patchy data and reflected uncertainty about the disease’s future epidemiological path. It is against this background that ECA began this study. The overall objective is to assess the socioeconomic impacts on countries, the region, and Africa as a whole, both in terms of the real costs entailed and growth and development prospects, so as to devise policy recommendations to accompany mitigation efforts….