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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 8, 2016

2016 February 8
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

ADRA Trains 722 Volunteer Extension Officers
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency Ghana (ADRA) has trained about 722 volunteer extension farmers, adding to the few in the country to assist farmers improve on their production. ADRA said it will train more extension officers to enhance the capacity of farmers to produce quality crops that meet the market’s demand. The northern sector produces the majority of the country’s food-stuff, but lacks extension officers to supervise agricultural practices as well as assist farmers identify the right time to cultivate particular crops that will yield well to improve their daily income. These extension officers will also assist farmers with application of fertiliser on their crops. The project is dubbed ‘The Volunteer Extension Workers Programme’, and is expected to facilitate agricultural extension service delivery in areas where professionally trained extension workers are scarce. The three-year project is being implemented by ADRA-Ghana under the Integrated Agricultural…

Benin and IFAD Work Together to Boost Food Security and Create Jobs for Young People
The Republic of Benin and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed an agreement on Monday to finance the Market Gardening Development Support Project (PADMAR), an initiative that will create some 3,000 new jobs, particularly for young women and men, and improve food and nutrition security in 27 municipalities of seven departments in southern Benin (Atlantic, Couffo, Littoral, Mono, Ouémé, Plateau and Zou). The total project investment is US $49.2 million, which includes a $23.5 million IFAD loan, $0.5 million grant and an additional grant of $4.5 million from the IFAD Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund. The government of Benin will contribute $4.8 million while the local participants will provide an additional $3.9 million. The government of Benin is seeking cofinancing of $12 million from other donors to make up the remainder…

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – February 1, 2016

2016 February 1
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Agric Ministry Launches New Strategy to Ensure Growth, Gender Parity
A revised national gender and agriculture development strategy to address the current agricultural challenges and ensure gender equity in the sector has been launched in Accra. Dubbed the “Gender and Agriculture Development Strategy II”, the policy is a revision of the already existing strategy which was crafted in 2001 to address gender-related concerns in the agriculture sector. Initiated by Women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and supported by development partners, the policy is intended to enhance equity in agriculture service delivery and access to inputs. A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr Hannah Bissiw, who launched the report, explained that despite the efforts to reach out to women in the sector, there was a decreasing trend in numbers of women in agriculture activities…

Moves to Upscale Cowpea Production Underway
A two-day stakeholders meeting for cowpea sector operators aimed at upscaling the crop’s production and its value chain in the three northern regions was held at Nyankpala-Tamale in the Northern Region. The meeting, the ‘Innovation Platform’, discussed challenges associated with the sector and the varieties of cowpea that consumers prefer and those that researchers need to come out with, among other issues associated with expanding cowpea production. It attracted researchers, farmers, agricultural extension agents, processors, inputs dealers, consumers, and marketers drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. The meeting formed part implementing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cowpea Project being carried out by the ...

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – January 25, 2016

2016 January 25
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
MOFA Signs Agreement with FAO to Tackle Avian Flu
A Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) was signed this week toward controlling and eliminating the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). This particular technical assistance aims at strengthening the country’s capacity to control and prevent further spread of the disease, contain it, and better manage the risk factors. The Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and FAO Country Representative, Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, signed for his organisation and said the ceremony is a demonstration of continued commitment and resolve to collaborate and coordinate efforts to stamp out spreading of the HPAI, and its subsequent elimination from Ghana. Dr. Gabriel noted that Ghana is currently experiencing HPAI outbreaks, which were formally reported in May 2015 and confirmed in June of the same year, after reports of similar outbreaks in other …

Poultry Farmers Angry at Government
The Ghana National Poultry Farmers' Association has expressed their dissatisfaction with measures by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Veterinary Services Directorate to combat bird flu. “If the measures are being effective, by now we would have contained the bird flu in Greater Accra, but it is still lingering,” Executive Secretary, John Torto told Joy News. Ghana has experienced 36 outbreaks of bird flu within the Greater Accra region being the worst hit with 31 cases since May 2015. Achimota and Tema were said to be the worst hit with birds from the two areas quarantined. During the Christmas season, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce dispelled fears that the outbreak endangered consumption of Chicken. The Chamber assured the general public that no infected bird would get to the market. The Chamber said measures were being put in place to combat the flu…

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – January 18, 2016

2016 January 18
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Cocoa Prices off to a Bad Start in 2016 ... Brokers Say Selling is Driven by Algorithmic Traders
Cocoa, one of a few bright spots in the commodities world in 2015, is having a bad start to this year. The bean behind chocolate joined this week’s global market selloff as algorithmic traders jumped on a shift in the supply outlook, brokers say. In 2015, cocoa was one of only two commodities tracked by S&P to trade higher, posting a 13% gain in London trading as dry conditions hit the harvest. This year cocoa is trading 4% lower after dropping as much as 7% earlier in the week, a decline first triggered by expectations of increased supply. But the size of the moves has surprised brokers, who say buying and selling is being driven by the computerized traders that are increasingly dominating this market. “There are a lot more system funds involved in cocoa than there ever have been before,” said Jonathan Parkman, head of agricultural brokerage at Marex Spectron. “There’s been a power shift.”…

Synergising Crop Nutrition and Mechanisation for Food Security
Global population growth during the second half of the twentieth century, its attendant urbanisation and industrialisation in Asia and to some extent in Africa, has led to greatly increased demands for mechanised farming and sustained bumper harvests, necessitating the application of high-yielding fertiliser as a boost to efforts at global food security. Consequently, rice, for instance, is becoming a staple cash crop, with its production systems becoming increasingly specialised and market-oriented … Agricultural mechanisation is a crucial input to enhanced crop production. It is frequently very capital intensive compared to other (usually annual) inputs, and it has repercussions on the efficiency of all other inputs used in crop production; including seeds, fertiliser, water and time/labour. It is also much more complex in its application, requiring not only correct use but also a service infrastructure for maintenance and repair…

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – January 11, 2016

2016 January 11
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues:
USAID Donates Vehicles to Northern Regional Coordinating Council
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presented 12 Nissan pickup vehicles to the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC) in Tamale, Ghana, on January 8, 2016. The vehicles were distributed to nine metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs) and three regional departments in the Northern Region of Ghana to improve service delivery to their citizens. The Tamale Metropolitan, Savelugu, Central Gonja, Saboba, East Mamprusi, Nanumba North, Nanumba South, Tolon, and West Gonja MMDAs and the Northern Region Health Directorate, Northern Region Environmental Health Unit, and the Northern Region Department of Social Welfare each received a vehicle. USAID/Ghana Mission Director Andrew Karas handed over the vehicles on behalf of the U.S. government. “These vehicles will enable local governments to provide more efficient and improved services to even their most vulnerable and remote citizens,” said Mr. Karas at the handover…

Food Security Threatened as Drought Looms
The Ghana Meteorological Service is warning of droughts that could lead to severe food shortages this year if appropriate steps are not adopted to tackle the threat. “We are expecting a reduction in the amount of rainfall especially during the major rainy season. We are anticipating that the rains will be erratic and we are going to have long drought spells and the rains will start late and end early”, a meteorologist Felicity Ahafianyo predicts. She cautions that, this will adversely affect agriculture especially because agriculture in Ghana is largely rain-fed. According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), 90% of arable agriculture is dependent on rainfall. This means any reduction in rainfall as is being predicted will have dire consequences for the over 40% percent of Ghanaians involved in the agricultural activities with about 90% of those being small holder farmers …

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