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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 27, 2015

2015 July 27
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Palm Oil can be the Next ‘Gold’ for Ghana
The Head of Corporate Affairs, Unilever Ghana, Mr. Gabriel Opoku-Asare, has described the palm oil sub-sector as the next “gold” sector for the country if all key stakeholders collaborate to grow the sub-sector to meet the increasing global demand for sustainable palm oil. Speaking at the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 Palm Oil Initiative Ghana Country Workshop held at the Best Western Hotel in Accra, he said the palm oil sector currently employs over 300,000 people in Ghana and must be given the needed attention to exploit its full potential to make sustainable palm oil production the norm and not the exception. The workshop was organised by the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Africa Palm Oil.

Oil Palm Farmers Supports 10 per cent Import Tax
The Oil Palm Smallholders and Outgrowers’ Association, has urged government to go ahead with the imposition of a 10 per cent adjustment tax on crude palm oil (CPO) imports into the country. The Association said the call on government by some importers and few multinationals for the suspension of the tax amounted to economic sabotage. “The government must seriously not listen to the selfish interest of some multinationals in the industry to use our country as a dumping ground of their produce,” Mr. Charles Twumasi-Ankrah, Executive member of the Association told a news conference in Accra. Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said local production would suffer when government continues to allow the influx of cheap low quality palm oil from the Far East. He said as much as the farmers recognise the need to bridge the gap between the current production and consumption, which is in excess of 200,000 metric tonnes, and could not call for a total ban on the import of the commodity there is …

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 21, 2015

2015 July 21
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Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
UNDP, Partners Implement Project to Boos Cocoa
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) on Thursday launched a project to enhance the eco-system,  and boost cocoa production in the Asunafo North Municipality. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Mondelez International, a chocolate manufacturing company in USA. Dubbed: “Environmental Sustainability and Policy for Cocoa Production in Ghana Project (ESP),” it would educate the youth on climate change, its impact on the environment, and the appropriate ways to address the challenge. The outreach programme would involve the establishment of environmental clubs in 16 Junior High Schools (JHSs) in the Municipality and promote several school-based activities that would create the needed awareness, understanding and interest in climate change and its consequence on the environment.

Ghana Introduces Electronic Payment System for Cocoa Farmers
Ghana has introduced an innovative “Cocoa Sika Payment Platform,” an Electronic Payment System for cocoa farmers, to facilitate rapid and secured payment of monies to farmers for beans purchased. The Cocoa Sika Payment Platform seeks to eliminate physical movement of huge sums of money to farmer gates and ensure a cashless system that will eradicate losses associated with the physical cash payment system. In collaboration with stakeholders, the innovative Cocoa Sika Payment system would be operated mainly by two telecommunication giants – Vodafone and MTN. Introducing the Cocoa Sika Payment Platform at the inauguration of the Progressive Licenced Cocoa Buyers Association in Accra, Mrs. Gladys Awuku, Chief Manager at Bank of Ghana said a cashless payment system in the cocoa sector is a welcoming news. She said Bank of Ghana will continue to support and provide adequate …

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 13, 2015

2015 July 13
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Tiger-nuts: Untapped Non-traditional Export Crop
Ghana’s trade imbalance continues to widen up with massive imports as against limited export trade.  The situation is a pivotal contributory factor to the craze for major international trading currencies, translating into the perennially depreciating cedi. Export earnings in the country are heavily dependent on cocoa and a few largely unprocessed commodities. In 2013, the non-traditional exports earnings were estimated at US$2.4billion; and government has targeted generating about US$5billion from the sector by 2019.  Stakeholders in the export sector have been exploring available opportunities, especially in agriculture, to factor into the country’s export commodities net so as to bridge the huge trade disparity and position Ghana as an export-driven economy. There is a large variety of agricultural crops cultivated here in the country with enormous economic usefulness, but they are yet to catch the attention of necessary institutions for the needed support to unearth their full-scale potentials.  One such crop is tiger nuts, which are locally known as ‘atadwe’.

Cashew Nuts can Fetch Ghana 56 Mllion dollars Annually
Ghana’s annual revenue from exporting raw cashew nuts is estimated at 56 million dollars, Mr. Joseph Yeung,  Managing Director of the Mim Cashew Processing Company, has revealed. He said value of processed cashew kernels, which is 21 per cent of the 65,000 metric tons of the annual raw cashew produced is also expected to earn the country 102 million dollars. Mr. Yeung, disclosed this when Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry paid a working visit to the company’s plant site at Mim in the Asunafo North Municipality. He explained Ghana has numerous opportunities from processing cashew nuts and advised the government implement policies that would make the industry attractive for rapid economic transformation and development. Mr. Yeung noted that prior to the border closure by Ivory Coast, the company was able to procure about 50 per cent of raw cashew nuts through...

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 6, 2015

2015 July 6
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Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Players in Seed Industry Form Association
An association of value chain players in the seed industry known as “The Seed Trade Association of Ghana (STAG)” has formally been launched to promote the interest of its members.STAG is an association of limited liability private commercial enterprises registered or incorporated nationally as well as private international companies registered in Ghana. Their operations include the supply, production, processing, distribution and marketing of improved seeds of assorted cereals, legumes, vegetables, root and tuber varieties.  At the launch of the association in Accra, the Chairman of STAG, Mr. Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi said “the broad aim of the association is to represent the interests of the seed industry in Ghana, both nationally and globally.” He said the 12 founder members comprised eight recipients of grants and three prospective grantees of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Women Farmers Introduced to Knowledge Technology
About 662 women farmer groups from 190 communities in the Upper West Region have been introduced to an audio technology dubbed, the “Talking Book” to help boost their production. The technology, which contains recorded messages on best agricultural practices on soya bean production, health and nutrition, gender issues, and best financial practices on the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), is being provided by the Mennonite Economic Development Associate (MEDA), in collaboration with Literacy Bridge Ghana. The 20-million-dollar Greater Rural Opportunity for Women (GROW) project is been funded by the Canadian Government through its Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, with the aim of empowering women for income sustainability and enhanced food security among families in rural communities.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 29, 2015

2015 June 29
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Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
WACCI Launches Vegetables Innovation Lab
The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), has launched a Vegetables Innovation Laboratory (VIL) as part of efforts to beef up vegetable production and food security in Ghana and the sub-region. The VIL thematic areas include genetic improvement, vegetable production and quality control, processing, value chains and socio-economic research, policy research and knowledge management systems. At the launch in Accra as part of a two-day workshop on Tomato Value Chain in Ghana at the University of Ghana, Professor Eric Y. Danquah, the Director, WACCI/Biotechnology Centre, said the lack of breeders in Ghana was hampering the growth of the tomato industry in Ghana. He said currently the Crops Research Institute at Fumesua had only two vegetable breeders who lacked expertise in the use of technologies needed to accelerate the development of superior tomato varieties for a changing sub-region and emerging markets for the benefit of Ghanaians.

Private and Public Vegetable Exporters Advised to Collaborate
Mr. Kwesi Korboe, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has called for collaboration between the public and private sector in ensuring that vegetable exporters comply with regulations of the European Union (EU). He said currently Ghana exports about 4,000 metric tonnes of vegetables and this could improve when the private and public sectors work together to meet the EU standards. “Private and Public sectors collective engagement will help for this goal to be achieved extensively,” Mr. Korboe said in Accra on Wednesday, at the sixth GhanaVeg Business Platform Meeting Agenda. He encouraged exporters to certify their products and ensure that farmers adhere to traceability and production issues, which is one of the major challenges the export market is facing. “Develop systems because it is a potential to grow for foreign exchange to come to the country through your activities,” he advised. Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah, Deputy Programmes Leader, GhanaVeg, noted that her outfit is driven by a strong belief in healthy and quality vegetables from Ghana through new ways of doing business.

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