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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – May 18, 2015

2015 May 18
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
USAID Introduces Risk Management Tool for Agribusinesses
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed an investment mapping software for the northern part of Ghana to help players in the agricultural value chain to gather the required information and minimize risk in their businesses. The resource, which can be accessed online, has mapped the location of farms; infrastructure; support service providers such as input dealers, and business advisory service providers. It has information on the availability of roads and irrigation facilities, processing facilities and warehousing etc. to help the agribusinesses in the value chain to choose where to locate their investments. The software, FinGAP Nautilytics, is part of the Financing Ghana Agriculture Project (FinGAP) being implemented by the USAID under the United States government’s $250 million Feed the Future initiative. Mr. Fidelis Paa Kwesi Dadzie of USAID-FinGAP, who presented the software at the second Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra last Wednesday, explained that the software could help financiers to mitigate risk as it allowed them to make quick assessments of the environment.

USAID Launches Programme on Cross-border Trade
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new programme aimed at eliminating barriers to cross-border trade in staple foods and help increase food security within West Africa. The “Food Across Borders Programme” (ProFAB), would focus on ensuring the improvement of public policies, increasing information on regional trade and strengthening the voice of private sector and regional organizations. Mr. Gene Cretz, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, at the launch in Accra on Thursday, said the institution of the programme, was based on the recommendations of an ECOWAS forum held in January 2013, which called for the need to draw attention to the crucial role that regional trade plays in West Africa’s food security. He said the recommendations also brought to the fore the increasingly important role regional trade would need to play to ensure the long-term resilience of the 365 million residents of West Africa.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – May 11, 2015

2015 May 11
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Ecobank Scales up Agric Credit
Ecobank Ghana has stepped up its support in the agricultural sector with a credit facility of GH¢152 million in 2014 to help the sector unlock its potential. The bank has extended more than GH¢22 million in the last four months to smallholder farmers who are into the cultivation of soya, maize and rice and other in the value chain. Speaking at the second Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit  in Accra, the Executive Director of Domestic Bank of Ecobank Ghana,  Mr. George Mensah-Asante, called for increased support  to small scale agriculture farmers to  enable them contribute to the economic development of the nation. That, he said, was necessary because the small scale agricultural sector had remained the bedrock of most developing economies of the world. Through our facilities, farmers have had increased access to modern technology, improved seeds and fertilizers,” he said.

Sinapi Aba Turns to Agric Financing
Microfinance company Sinapi Aba has turned attention to agriculture FINANCING as a way to contribute to making the sector unlock its potential. Last year, the microfinance institution, which has predominantly been funding commerce and personal FINANCE, devoted about GH¢10 million to the sector, FINANCING not only farmers but also input suppliers, aggregators (marketing firms), processors and other players within the value chain. “Our interest in agriculture has come about because we realize a large portion of the population are into agriculture. Out of the number, about 80 per cent are in the informal sector. Therefore, as a company with a mission to transform lives, we needed to look at this sector so that we can help them to create businesses from agriculture, to generate income and improve their lives,” the Chief Programme Officer of the company, Ms. Joyce Owusu Dabo, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the second Ghana Agribusiness INVESTMENT Summit  in Accra.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – May 4, 2015

2015 May 4
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Young Cocoa Farmers form Association in Western Region
Five thousand young cocoa farmers in two districts and a municipality in the Western Region have come together to form an association. The Akuafo Anigye Young Cocoa Farmers Association is to bring all young cocoa farmers under one umbrella with the primary responsibility to resuscitate and preserve the once vibrant cocoa industry, facilitate effective communication among members, as well as imbibe in them the spirit of hardwork and good agronomic practices. It is also to encourage the youth from Ellembelle, Jomoro and Nzema East to take advantage of the many opportunities the cocoa industry offer, initiate additional livelihood programmes such as livestock production and ensure elimination of worse forms of child labour.

Ministry Bans Poultry Imports from Burkina Faso
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has banned the importation of poultry and poultry products from Burkina Faso, following the outbreak of Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, in that country. The Veterinary Service Directorate of the ministry has also increased its surveillance activities in the Volta, Upper East and Upper West regions to prevent a possible outbreak in Ghana. A statement signed by the acting Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Ben Aniwa, and issued in Accra urged the public to avoid using their bare hands to handle dead birds and also cook meat and eggs properly before eating. “The general public is to quickly report any unusual deaths in domestic, as well as, wild birds to the nearest veterinary office,” it said. Bird flu is a viral infection that is hosted by birds and spread from bird to bird. The disease may infect several species of mammals. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s…

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – April 27, 2015

2015 April 27
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Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
President Mahama Announces Incentive Package for Cocoa Farmers
President John Dramani Mahama on Friday announced a number of incentives for cocoa farmers to inspire them to step up production in the coming years. He said: "Apart from the on-going free fertilizers and spraying exercises, government is also providing free 50 million hybrid seedlings and solid extension services to the farmers." President John Dramani Mahama said this when he inaugurated the Touton Cocoa Processing Company in Tema, in the Greater Accra Region. Touton Cocoa Processing Company, which started buying cocoa from Ghana since 1988, currently has a working staff of 150 people with the view to leveraging employment opportunities among the Ghanaian youth. President Mahama said government had also earmarked $2 million dollars for the construction of well-equipped basic schools in deprived cocoa growing communities with libraries, boreholes and other amenities to keep …

COCOBOD Increases Scholarships to Farmers Wards
The COCOBOD has increased its scholarships to the children of cocoa farmers in various public Senior High Schools from 3,500 to 5,000 students annually. The increase is to enable more children of cocoa farmers to have access to secondary education, and it takes effect from the 2014/15 academic year. The Deputy Administrative Manager of COCOBOD Scholarship Scheme, Mr. Joe Baah announced this at a cocoa farmer’s forum in the Osino District on cocoa health and good farming methods at Akyem Sekyere near Anyinam. He said forms for the scholarship had been sent to the quality control division offices for collection by cocoa farmers on behalf of their wards. Mr. Baah said some of the scholarship forms had also been sent to public Senior High Schools.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – April 21, 2015

2015 April 21
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
Cocoa Production to Rebound
Expectations are high among farmers that cocoa production will hit its peak in the mid-crop season on the back of favorable weather and improved farming practices. Cocoa bean output in the main crop season (September- March) has been disappointing -- falling below the target of 600,000 metric tonnes and raising concerns that Ghana could miss its annual production target of 810,000 metric tonnes as cocoa production in the mid-crop season (May- August) has over the years accounted for just about 15 to 20 percent of the total harvest. The Deputy National Chief Farmer, Nana Agyei Damoa, is however optimistic Ghana will record a bumper cocoa harvest in the mid-season as farmers have recovered from the menace of black pod disease and low rainfall experienced in the main crop season.

COCOBOD Distributes Seedlings to Farmers
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has begun the free distribution of 50 million cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide. The exercise that would run between April and July this year would ensure that all registered cocoa farmers in the country received free hybrid seedlings. It formed part of efforts to raise the country’s cocoa output from the current 850,000 tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes. The Executive Director of the Seed Production Unit (SPU) of COCOBOD, Dr Isaac Yaw Opoku, disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that the country’s annual cocoa output equaled or overtook that of Cote d’Ivoire, which harvested about 1.7 million tonnes of the crop in the 2013/14 crop season.

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