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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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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 22, 2015

2015 June 22
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Ghana Wins FAO Award for Reducing Hunger
Ghana has received an award from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for reducing the number of undernourished people from more than seven million in the early 1990s to less than a million now. The country was also adjudged as one of 12 among 72 that have maintained their hunger rates below five per cent dating back to 1990. Alhaji Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture received the award on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama, on the sidelines of the 39th Session of the Conference of Member States of the FAO, held in Milan, Italy from June 3 to June 5. The award ceremony was to recognize and honor 72 countries that have made tremendous progress leading to the near achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve the proportion of hungry people by the 2015 deadline, or bring to below the five per cent threshold.

Take Advantage of Cocoa Tree Replacement Exercise - President Mahama Urges Farmers
President John Dramani Mahama has encouraged cocoa farmers to take full advantage of the national cocoa trees replacement exercise to increase their yield and eventually improve Ghana's overall output. The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is supplying 50 million hybrid seedlings that have high yields and are resistant to diseases freely to farmers to replace aged cocoa trees on their farms. The President was speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony at Subin Camp, a major cocoa growing area in the Adansi South District, yesterday for work to begin on cocoa roads reconstruction in the Ashanti Region. He said the cocoa replacement exercise was important and must be taken seriously because of the inherent benefits. He assured cocoa farmers that no effort would be spared by the government to support them to improve on their yields. He said although Ghana was the world's second highest producer of cocoa, it refreshingly maintained its position as the producer of the highest quality cocoa beans globally.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 18, 2015

2015 June 18
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
MOFA Urges Maize Farmers to Opt for Poultry Manure
Dr John Ayisi Jatango, the Tano North District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has advised maize farmers to apply poultry manure to increase production and quality yields. He emphasized that it had been scientifically proven that the use of organic or poultry manure was very economical and a good farm practice for increased crop production than organic fertilizer application. Dr Jatango gave the advice when speaking at a farmer’s field day, organized by the United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID), at Kobedi in the Sunyani West District of the Brong-Ahafo Region. The day formed part of a partnership programme being implemented by the USAID and the Dupont-Pioneer, an international maize dealing company in the country. Aimed at increasing the productivity and profitability of smallholder maize farmers in the country, the four-year project is estimated to cost four million US dollars. Dr Jatango explained that poultry manure, aside its affordability, conserved moisture, increased nutritional value in crops, indicating that because it is slightly acidic it improved soil fertility.

Agric Ministry Confirms Bird Flu Presence in Ghana
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has confirmed that some birds in the Greater Accra Region have been infected by avian influenza, also known as bird flu. This follows test carried out on some poultry products by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Reference Laboratories in Italy, which revealed that the disease had affected four poultry farms in Accra and Tema. Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, in Accra, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, explained that birds in four farms in the Greater Accra Region had been confirmed to be infected with bird flu. Prior to the FAO test, the Accra Veterinary Laboratory and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research tested some samples from farms in Achimota and Tema which proved positive.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 8, 2015

2015 June 8
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
COCOBOD to Replace 33% of Cocoa trees with Improved, Disease-resistant Ones
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is to replace about 33 per cent of the country’s cocoa trees with hybrid seedlings that have high yields and are resistant to diseases, pests and harsh weather conditions. This follows a recent survey on the status of cocoa trees in the country, which revealed that about 23 per cent of national plant stock have passed the active fruiting age of 30, making it difficult for them to properly contribute to cocoa output. The survey also estimated that another 10 per cent of cocoa trees had been infected by the deadly cocoa swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD), bringing to 33 per cent the total number of the country’s cocoa trees that were not in their active fruiting stage due to ageing and diseases. Given that the development has adverse effects on annual cocoa output, the Executive Director of the Seed Production Unit (SPU) of the COCOBOD, Dr Isaac Yaw Opoku, said the board had resolved to cut down and replace those low yielding trees with improved seedlings that were resistant to diseases and pests.

Ghana, 5 other African countries achieve MDG One
Ghana has achieved the Millennium Development Goal One (MDG 1) of halving the proportion of people suffering from under-nourishment and halving hunger by the end of this year. The country is among six countries in Africa to have achieved the goal meant to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Angola, Djibouti, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali and Sao Tome & Principe are the other African countries to have achieved the target set by the MDG and the World Food Summit (WFS).  This was made known at the launch of the first edition of the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa (2015) by the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative in Africa, Mr. Bukar Tijani, at a ceremony in Accra last Tuesday.  West Africa in particular made notable strides, reducing its prevalence of under-nourishment by 60 per cent from 24.2 per cent in 1990-1992 to 9.6 per cent during the current 2014-16 assessment period.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 1, 2015

2015 June 1
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Tree Global Distributes Cocoa Seedlings to Farmers
Tree Global, a trade organization in agriculture and forestry, in collaboration with Mondalez International, a chocolate manufacturing company, has distributed 2,500 innovative cocoa seedlings to farmers at Bosuso to boost their production. As part of the distribution, experts from Tree Global demonstrated how the seedlings should be handled from the removal of the pots to planting to ensure that the tap root is intact and firmly held by the soil. Mondalez International, a chocolate manufacturing company in the US and biggest buyer of Ghana cocoa has instituted cocoa life communities support project, in seven districts to support  farmers to improve their wellbeing especially  cocoa production and the welfare of their children. The districts are: New Juaben, West Akim, Suhum and Fanteakwa in the Eastern Region, Amansie West in the Ashanti Region, Wassa East in the Western Region and Asunafo North in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Yara Pulls out of Government Fertilizer Subsidy
A leading fertilizer distributor in the country, Yara Ghana Ltd, has pulled out of the government’s fertilizer subsidy programme for this year. According to the company, its products would only be available in the open market to enable farmers, who have just started planting for the season, to get access to the product in any quantity…. The Managing Director of Yara Ghana, Mr Jorgen C. Arentz Rostrup, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that in line with its commitment to farmers, the company would maintain its extensive import programme for the year and also ensure that the product was available in the market at all times.  He added that Yara would also assign its agronomists to work closely with the farmers to ensure high yield and quality. The company has agronomists positioned across the country, particularly in cereal producing areas…

Rice Farmers Call for More Support to Boost Production
Rice farming is gradually becoming such a lucrative business in Ghana as demand increases. Many farmers are now reporting impressive yields as patronage of the delicacy increases across the country. Last year the farmers enjoyed a bumper harvest and are expecting same this year. Ben Kanat, a rice farmer at the Ashaiman Rice Irrigation Site tells JOY BUSINESS planting a hectare of certified rice seeds could produce about 120 bags of rice. For him although producing rice is a tedious job, it is highly rewarding. Another rice farmer at Dowenya in the Greater Accra Region, Emmanuel Arden is particularly excited about the fact that post-harvest losses in rice production are virtually non-existent. “When the price for our produce is low we can store it and for more than 5 to 10 years the rice will still be in good shape. So in rice production you can never be at a loss as it pertains….

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