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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 27, 2016

2016 July 27
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Bridging the Gap between Forestry and Agriculture to Improve Food Security
At the opening of the 23rd Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), FAO presented its flagship publication The State of the World's Forests (SOFO) and called for better coordination between agriculture and forestry for sustainable farming systems and forest management to ensure food security. The FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva mentioned in his opening remarks that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change, recognizes a coherent and integrated approach to sustainability across all agricultural sectors and food systems and forests and forestry have key roles to play in this regard.

FAO Challenges Agric Institutions to Make Research Results more Accessible
Recently the FAO has been meeting various players in the Agric sector to discuss potential mechanisms for improving access to agricultural data. The meetings are aimed at helping increase information and knowledge sharing through open data, and open access initiatives, which the FAO notes will be crucial for food security and good nutrition in Ghana. “In an era of information and knowledge revolution, facilitated by breakthrough in digital technology, we must adopt innovative solutions, including accessing open data, in order to advance transformation agenda of agriculture and the rural economy,” the FAO Representative to Ghana and Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, said at the opening session of the meeting. Speaking at the meeting, the Director-General for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman, indicated that CSIR would soon adopt an Open Access Policy to disseminate its research results.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 18, 2016

2016 July 18
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
5,000m/t of Raw Cashew Nuts Imported from Guinea Bissau
USIBRAS Ghana Limited, the biggest cashew processing company in West Africa, has appealed to government for better support to the country’s cashew processors as it is importing 5,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts from Guinea Bissau due to the limited access to high quality raw cashew nuts in Ghana. The company said on July 5th 2016, it received the first shipment of 3,500 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts from Melo Ltda, a cashew company in Guinea-Bissau, and is expecting the second shipment of an additional 1,500 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts this week to supply their current factory demands. Mr. Tarciso Falcao, Operations Director of USIBRAS Ghana Limited in a statement copied to the B&FT said: “We need prompt policies on the taxation of raw cashew nut exports, the establishment of a two months export window for raw cashew nuts, a minimum price for farmers per season and a long-term plan for the sustainable development of a flourishing cashew sector.” Since the introduction and immediate withdrawal of an export window for raw cashew nuts in the beginning of 2016, the potentials and challenges of the cashew sector have been on the country’s government agenda….

Poor Rainfall Threatens Maize Production in Brong Ahafo
Maize farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region fear losing their investments to poor harvest, as irregular rainfall pattern lingers. Areas such as Sunyani West, Berekum and Tain have not recorded any rainfall in weeks though it’s the rainy season. The Region is one of the leading maize growing areas in the country, accounting for about 35% of the total national production. But it appears maize production level in the region will reduce drastically this year in the face of unreliable rains and absence of irrigation systems. A 42-year-old famer, Kofi Vinyo, has cultivated over 313 acres of maize around Odomase in the Sunyani West district. In an interview with B&FT, he expressed the anxiety over harvesting next to nothing on a large portion on his farms because of unfavourable climatic condition. “After toiling to secure little funding for such farming project, it’s very disheartening to see the crops prematurely drying up, all because of a natural phenomenon which could have been taken care of if there were to be an effective irrigation scheme. I started constructing an irrigation system but I got stuck halfway due to financial constraint….

Shea Industry Cries for Investment
The shea nuts industry’s value chain continues to be an economic driver for a lot of rural women farmers’ resident in the northern sector as the commodity serves as employment generation, industrial development and growth of the national economy. It is estimated that annual earnings from the sector currently stands at US$175 million, comprising export revenues from the raw nuts and processed butter. Critics have observed that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), which has the mandate to direct and implement policies for the growth of the industry has neglected the sector for cocoa. They expressed worry about that the lack of clear-cut policies to develop the industry, which has resulted in the sheanut trees being currently cut down and burnt for charcoal and other farming activities in certain communities within the three northern regions. Such development has negatively affected the industry since sheanut trees grow naturally and not through human effort. Until recently, shea nut farmers in the three regions were not benefiting from any floor price as pertains in the cocoa industry. The National Association of Shea Nut Farmers, Processors and Buyers complained about floor low price decided and announced by the COCOBOD for the produce as part of the government’s efforts at improving the lot of the pickers and farmers, as well as develop a profitable shea nut industry….

Fertiliser Consumption in W/A Among the Lowest—Report
Fertiliser consumption in West Africa is one of the lowest in the world, a report of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs in Parliament, has revealed. According to the report, the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has recommended that in order to meet the objective of a six percent annual growth of agricultural productivity that was set by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) adopted by NEPAD in 2003, the average annual fertilizer application rate in West Africa should be increased from the current 8kilogram per hectare to 23kilogram per hectare. Chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Gabriel K.Essilfie said “Such advocacy for increased fertilizer use must also be complemented by the need to strengthen fertilizer quality control”. Mr. Essilfie also stated that regulating trans-border movement of seeds and fertilisers across the sub-region was essential in ensuring availability of quality seeds and fertilisers among ECOWAS Member countries as part of measures to increasing productivity and achieving food security. The report further explains that a study by International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) in 1995 on the quality of fertilisers marketed in West Africa indicated that even though the physical properties of marketed fertilisers are acceptable, 43percent of products were nutrient deficient whilst 58percent were deficient in weight…

Private Sector should Invest in Bulk Food Storage – Alhassan
A Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, has urged the private sector to invest in the operations of the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), as it is presently not well equipped to store enough food to ensure food security in Ghana. “The private sector must see to the issue of the storage of commodities to regulate or supply to the market as a strategic investment opportunity,” Dr. Alhassan said on the Citi Breakfast Show. NAFCO was set up to, among other things, mop up excess produce from Ghanaian farmers in order to reduce post-harvest losses. But Dr. Alhassan believes the private sector must supplement the efforts of NAFCO in their attempts to address post-harvest losses after bumper harvests. According to him, “the government cannot build all the warehouses that we use or all the cold storage facilities that we use. It has to be done by the private sector.” “Why is that we have all these cold houses that store away imported chicken and fish for supply on the market and we cannot have the very private sector investing in cold storage facilities keep tomatoes and other perishables in the country,” Dr. Alhassan argued further…

New Technologies Boost Rice Production
New technologies introduced to dry season rice farmers at the Daffiama and Sankana irrigation dams in the Upper West Region have boosted rice production. The adoptation of the “Feed the Future Ghana Agricultural Technology Transfer (ATT) project’s” Urea Deep Placement (UDP), rice transplanting, the provision certified rice seeds, free fertilizers and planting on rolls technologies had helped increased production compared to the indigenous broadcasting system known to the farmers. The interventions also allowed more rice to be planted and made weeding and harvesting easier and faster as well as helped to reduce cost and promote maximum utilisation of fertilizer than the traditional broadcasting system. A plant could develop about 25 to 30 tillers as compared to the traditional method of broadcasting, which produced about 14 tillers. The project’s goal is to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable technologies to sustainably improve the competitiveness of maize, rice, and soybean value chains in Northern Ghana. It focused on integrated soil fertility management, seed sector promotion and upscaling of high quality seeds, capacity building in research …

ECOWAS Commission Holds Workshop on Climate Change
The ECOWAS Commission is to hold a capacity building programme for regional Civil Society Organizations, the media and the private sector on climate change. The three-day workshop, which commences from July 13 to 15, 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria, will enable participants analyse the Paris Agreement on climate change and identify potential contributions that can be implemented in the West African sub-region. A statement issued by the Commission in Abuja on Tuesday and made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said the meeting is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the stakeholders to appreciate issues that have to do with climate change. Participants at the workshop are to present the process of international negotiations on climate change that have led to the Paris Agreement and raise possible opportunities for civil society organizations, the media and the private sector in its implementation. Apart from knowing the status of Climate Funds and the Green Climate Fund, they are also expected to identify contributions and actions at both regional and national levels of each of the three groups of actors in the implementation of the Paris agreement and the fight against climate change in West Africa …

2016 National Farmers Day Celebrations Launched in Accra
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture MOFA), at the weekend launched this year’s National Farmers’ Day celebrations scheduled to take place on October 7, at Kintampo in the Brong- Ahafo Region. The day, which is set aside by government to honour farmers and fishers who provide food for the people, raw materials for industries and earn foreign exchange for the country, is on the theme: '' Agriculture; A business response to economic growth.'' In a speech read on his behalf to launch the event, Mr. Julius Debrah, Chief of Staff, said the theme underscored effective commercial agriculture, as a critical factor for the country’s development agenda and there is thus a strong need for sustainable and responsible investment to create business opportunities in the agricultural sector. He said the theme also demonstrates the resolve of government at providing a framework and institutional basis for a long-term engagement and supplementary financing for scaling up investment in private sector-led pro-poor agriculture value chain development through the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme (GASSIP) being implemented by MOFA. GASSIP is expected to directly benefit at least 62,900 farmers by Programme Year (PY) 3 and 86,400 farmers by PY 6,  that 4000 Farmer-Based Organisations would be involved in implementation and would receive support to be integrated into formalised value chains and expected to be more climatic resilient …

Farmers Association Applauds Increased Fertilizer Subsidy
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has applauded the government for the five per cent increase in fertilizer subsidy. Alhaji Mohammed Abdul Rahman, the National President, said they found the upward adjustment of the subsidy from 21 to 26 per cent significant and commendable. He, however, pleaded for further reduction of the price of fertilizers to make these affordable to the smallholder farmer. He was speaking at the launch of an “Agro-ecology project” in Techiman, to be implemented by the association. The project is being funded by Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), an NGO, with the African Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (ACCAI) and Organization for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (OSARD) as the other implementing partners. The goal is to promote appropriate agronomic practices to sustain increased food production. Mr. Rahman said the association was not unaware of the stepped up effort by the government to support the growth of the agricultural sector and appreciated that. He cited the introduction of organic fertilizer as part of the fertilizer subsidy project, revamping of collapsed agro-businesses and irrigation projects. He drew attention to the need to improve farmer access to agricultural extension services to expose them to new farming technologies...

Newmont and Forestry Commission sign MoU
Newmont Golden Ridge Limited (NGRL) and the Forestry Commission, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commence the implementation of the second phase of the Newmont Reforestation Offset Programme. The restoration programme forms part of the mitigation measures Newmont Ghana is undertaking in line with the approved Environmental Impact Statement for acquiring and mining 101 hectares outs of the 568.56 hectares of Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve. Already, NGRL has completed phase one of the project by establishing a 60-hectare plantation in off reserve areas between the company’s water storage dam and the Mamang Forest Reserve. The MoU would see the commencement of the reclamation of 257 hectares of degraded forest land in the Kweikaru Forest Reserve in the Kade District of the Eastern Region to make up for the 303 hectares reforestation commitment. The Executive Director of the Forest Services Division, Mr. Raphael Yeboah said the implementation of the project would help the Commission to achieve its vision of leaving future generations with a better richer and more valuable forest and wildlife resources than it inherited. “The project apart from its environmental benefits of enhancing biodiversity also reduces carbon emissions to offset the company’s carbon footprints,” he said It would help create about 250 jobs in the local community …

Programme to Improve Cocoa Production Launched
The Member of Parliament for the Agona West Constituency, Mr. Charles Obeng-Inkoom, has launched a programme to improve cocoa production in the area. Dubbed “Agonaman Cocoa Sustainability Youth Programme,” the move is an intervention to augment efforts of the government through the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to increase cocoa production and to better the lot of farmers. The event attracted cocoa farmers from Nyakrom, Upper Bobikuma, Lower Bobikuma, Agona Nkum, Oteipro, Nyamendam, Apponsah, Otsenkorang and Kuntanase. As part of the event, the MP presented 50 cocoa spraying machines to the farmers, who had been put into groups, to help them during the spraying seasons. Mr. Obeng-Inkoom told the gathering that the initiative was to encourage the youth to go into cocoa production, since there existed a lot of support by the government in its quest to achieve more than a million tonnes of cocoa annually. He stated that the current cocoa farmers were aged and if care was not taken the annual cocoa yield would reduce, since the younger generation had not been empowered to take over. He urged the farmers to properly regulate the usage of the machines as well as ensure their maintenance to enable them to last longer…

Youth in Cocoa Farming Launched at Bontodiase
A new programmed dubbed:  "Youth in Cocoa Farming" introduced by the Cocoa Extension Unit of COCOBOD, has been launched at Akim Bontodiase in the Eastern Region. It would be extended to other towns like Akokoaso, Ofoase, Brenase, Anyinase, and Ayirebi in the Akyemansa District. Mr. Foster Oyinka Danquah, the Akim Oda District Extension Officer of COCOBOD launching the programme, said the initiative was introduced this year to promote cocoa yields. He said extension officers would provide supervision for the participants and give free training. Mr. Tom Budu, the Akyemansa District Chief Executive pledged the Assembly’s support to the programme to improve efficiency on cocoa farming activities and enhance more yields. "Had it not been cocoa farming activities I might have not gained money to care for my education to be who I am today.  Now I have about 60 acres land of cocoa," Mr. Budu said. He advised participants in the programme to collaborate in weeding, spraying and sharing of opinions and knowledge acquired from the training. As part of the launch, Executive Members of the programme were inaugurated …

Reforestation Programme for Degraded Kweikaru Land
Over 257 hectares of degraded land in the Kweikaru Forest has been handed over to Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, a mining company, for a reforestation programme. This was the outcome of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Forestry Commission (FC) and the mining company last Friday. The project is the second phase of Newmont’s reforestation programme, which will see the company nurse and nurture seeds, plant seedlings and manage the forest reserve for the next 10 years. The first phase, covering 60 hectares of the boundary area between the company’s mines and the Ajenua Bepo Forest was begun in 2014. The two projects will together cover 303 hectares, which is three times Newmont’s current mining area, and will involve replanting indigenous trees. Newmont operates on 101 hectares of the Ajenua Forest Reserve and this has had a significant impact on the forest as a result of the company’s open-pit mining operations. The reforestation programme forms part of Newmont’s mitigation measures rolled out in consultation with the FC to offset the effects of mining activities by Newmont’s Akyem Mine on the Ajenua Bepo Forest ….

Reports/Articles
Adoption of Farm Management Practices by Smallholder Cocoa Farmers in Prestea Huni-Valley District, Ghana
DS Ehiakpor, G Danso-Abbeam, J Zutah, A Hamdiyah - Russian Journal of Agricultural and Socio-Economic Sciences, 2016, vol. 53, issue 5, pages 117-124
As part of Ghana’s quest to increase cocoa production, Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana has recommended farm management practices to help boost production levels. However, adoption of these management practices had been low, leading to yield levels below potential. This study investigates the adoption intensity and factors explaining the variation in adoption among smallholder cocoa farmers in Prestea Huni-Valley district of Ghana. A sample size of 180 cocoa farm households from eight communities were randomly selected and interviewed through a well-structured questionnaire. Majority (80%) of the sampled farmers have adopted four to six out of seven cocoa farm management practices identified. The Poison regression model was used to examine the determinants of intensity of adoption of the farm management practices. The results generally revealed that, marital status of the farmer, household size, educational attainment, membership of farmer-based organization and farmer receiving extension services are all significant variables explaining farmer’s decision to adopt cocoa farm management practices. The study concludes by suggesting that farm level policies such as extension service delivery system should be strengthen in terms of staff and methodologies …

Assessment of Irrigation Performance Using Remote Sensing Technique at Tono irrigation Area in the Upper East Region of Ghana
J Asaana, A Sadick; International Research Journal of Agricultural and Food Sciences; Vol. 1 Issue 4, pp: (79-91), July 2016.
A research was conducted at Tono irrigation system in the Upper East Region of Ghana to evaluate the irrigation performance of the system based on some selected indicators with the help of GIS and Remote Sensing Techniques. The indicators, namely Overall Consumed Ratio (OCR), Relative Water Supply (RWS), Relative Evapotranspiration (RET), Depleted Fraction (DF) and Crop Water Deficit (CWD) were used at 3 command areas, Bonia, Korania and Chuchuliga. Potential evapotranspiration and actual evapotranspiration were estimated with Penman Monteith method and Surface Energy Balance System (SEBS) using Aster Satellite image, respectively. The seasonal average values of the irrigation performance indicators showed that water delivery system at Tono irrigation project based on the selected command areas is poor.

Light Fishing Operations in Small-scale Fishing in Ghana – A Case Study of the Chorkor and Teshie–Nungua Fishing Communities in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana
GA Agyekum, Master Thesis in International Fisheries Management, submitted to the Arctic University of Norway, in May 2016
Coastal fisheries resources play a crucial role in promoting food security and incomes throughout the world. In recent years there has been important concerns all over the world about the overexploitation of wild fish stocks. In many developing coastal countries this overexploitation has been attributed to the increasing demand of fish products and exacerbated by modernization and development of new fishing techniques to increase catch. One of the major problems in the fishing industry is the dwindling levels of fishing output. Ghana’s fishing levels are increasingly becoming unsustainable due to the use of highly destructive fishing equipment like light attraction equipment. Apart from the periodic shortages of pre-mix fuel, light fishing activities is identified by peasant fishers as a major challenge to their livelihood. The use of light fishing method for fishing also has the potential to negatively impact the profitability of poor fishers who are mainly small-scale artisanal fishers. The damaging effect of light fishing operation in the country and the factors affecting the effective enforcement of the ban on such operation leaves us with lots of uncertainties which this research seeks to unravel.

* The GSSP News Digest just summarizes news that is reported in the press. Any errors of fact or omission are not IFPRI’s responsibility*

Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 11, 2016

2016 July 11
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Barry Callebaut Reaffirms Commitment to Cocoa Farmers
Barry Callebaut has increased support for Cocoa Horizons in Ghana – the world’s second largest cocoa growing country – as part of its global efforts to secure a sustainable cocoa supply chain. Cocoa Horizons focuses on farmer education, support and finance to scale impact and drive measurable change in cocoa-growing communities. Barry Callebaut aims to include 22,000 farmers in Ghana in the programme by 2017. The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, announced further expansion of its signature Cocoa Horizons sustainability programme in Ghana during a special event attended by local business, community and government leaders. The Cocoa Horizons programme will be implemented through its wholly owned subsidiary, Nyonkopa Cocoa Buying Limited, which was acquired by Barry Callebaut in 2015. The programme is aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa farmers through farm and community level activities. It is part of the company’s initiatives to help ensure that cocoa is grown in a sustainable way, generating better income for farmers and safeguarding the environment. The programme will be expanded in Ghana and additional origin countries in the coming years. Under Cocoa Horizons, participants are trained on good agricultural practices (GAP), good …

Cocoa Farmers Demand Dollar-quoted Producer Prices
Cocoa Farmers within the Hohoe-Kpeve cocoa district have called for the producer price of cocoa to be quoted in dollars to reduce loss of value of cocoa due to the weak and unstable cedi. The lot of cocoa farmers, according to the President of Unity Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union Limited, Mr. Yaw Botsoe,  will be better, and that would attract more youth into cocoa farming and stop smuggling if government heeds to their call. In an interview with the Daily Graphic during the inauguration of the co-operative union at Hohoe, Mr. Botsoe lamented that “exchange rates go up and market prices draw along but the quantity of cedi remains constant for the cocoa farmers which brings big losses to them”. He further added that the establishment of a micro-finance package to provide the financial needs of farmers and support farm commercialisation could also address issues of poverty among cocoa farmers. Mr. Botsoe said though the cocoa industry was the largest single supporter of the economy, over the past years, yields for peasant farmers had remained low resulting in poor standard of living for the farmers ….

CRIG Takes Steps to Maintain Quality of Ghana’s Cocoa Beans
The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) has stepped up efforts to maintain the quality of the nation’s cocoa beans with the establishment of a Flavor laboratory for chocolate production. It is meant to help farmers to see the marked difference in taste between chocolate produced from well-fermented and thoroughly dried beans and the poorly handled beans. Mr. Stephen Yaw Opoku, Head of the Laboratory, said this way, they would be encouraged to stick to traditional best practices that had over the years helped Ghana to enjoy premium on its beans. He broke the news when he took students from the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania, United States (US) round to inspect the facility at New Tafo, in the East Akim Municipality. The school was established by the Hershey Chocolate Company and the students were in the country to see for themselves how cocoa, the raw material for chocolate was produced…

 Farmers Advocate One Community, One Dam Policy
Farmers within the Savannah Ecological Zone have called on government to introduce a Community, One-Dam Policy as part of measures to promote agriculture in the country. This, according to the farmers, would help ensure all year round agricultural production to enhance food security, reduce food imports, and alleviate poverty. Research has shown that during the rainy season hunger and food insecurity are usually reduced in communities in the SADA Zone hence the advocacy for the creation of irrigation dams in each community to ensure all year round farming. The farmers made the call at a one-day regional consultative forum organized by the Coalition of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (CSADA), a group of Civil Society Organizations in Tamale, in partnership with the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA) and the Concerned Citizens Association of Tamale (CCAT). The forum was meant to solicit the views, inputs and development priorities of youth and women farmer groups for SADA’s Medium Term Development Plan and Master Plan (MTDPMP). It was also to seek their views on the Livelihood Improvement and Poverty Reduction aspects, especially within the SADA zone….

Nine SMEs in the Shea Sector to Attend Johannesburg Exhibition
Barclays Bank Ghana has, in collaboration with Global Shea Alliance (GSA), sponsored nine entrepreneurs to take part in the upcoming ‘ProBeauty Johannesburg’ exhibition in August this year. The exhibition is to provide business linkages for over 30 selected entrepreneurs across the continent who ply their trade in Shea products. According to Sydney Henderson, Sustainability Coordinator of GSA, the exhibition was borne out of the realization that a lot of entrepreneurs do not have the needed capacity to produce high quality products and the fact that they lack opportunity to showcase their products to the world. “We have realized that the entrepreneurs need to improve on their marketing skills and do not have access to information that can help them get their products to potential customers,” Ms. Henderson said. “So through the Global Shea Alliance we are providing market linkages for our members and also give them the opportunity to showcase Shea products to the buyers. So we are going to do capacity building exercise for our members and help them improve their products and skills and also move them to the next level.” To prepare them for the exhibition, Technoserve Ghana has, through the African Youth Agripreneurship Programme (AYAP), which is sponsored by Barclays Ghana, organized a training workshop for the nine entrepreneurs….

Agriculture to take Centre Stage in Oxford Business Group 2017 report …as Liberty Capital signs MOU
Ghana’s plans to add value to its natural resources as a means of boosting export growth will be explored in a forthcoming report by the global publishing firm Oxford Business Group (OBG). The Report: Ghana 2017 will shine a spotlight on the country’s agriculture industry which is seen as a key driver of growth, despite the commodity slowdown. OBG’s publication will consider the latest 2016 growth forecasts for Ghana, which range from 4.5% (IMF) to 5%, rising to 6% by 2017 (Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning), after a difficult 2015. The Report: Ghana 2017 will also document the measures that the country is taking to improve overall competitiveness, including the development of its capital markets and the challenges that high interest and borrowing rates present. Liberty Capital has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with OBG for the publishing firm’s sixth report on the country. Under the MOU, the company will team up for a third time with OBG to compile and produce the Capital Markets chapter of The Report: Ghana 2017. William K. Adjovu, Managing Director, Liberty Capital, said, he expected the company’s research with OBG to focus on the pivotal part that agriculture will play in driving new growth and the impact that the launch of the Ghana Commodities Exchange could have on the sector’s development, given that the market platform may well be up and running by 2017…

Researchers Discuss Ways to Boost Agricultural Extension
Researchers, academics and policy makers from West Africa have met in Accra to discuss ways to boost agricultural extension programmes in the sub-region. The meeting provided a platform for the participants to assess the role stakeholders play, as well as re-draw plans regarding ownership and sustainability of funds from the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) programme. The two-day event was organised by the SAFE. The SAFE programme, which was established in 1992, partners 14 universities and colleges, including the University of Cape Coast. The programme is being implemented in nine countries with the aim of providing practical agricultural extension courses in universities. The alumni of the programme in Ghana now exceed 800, with a membership of 3,000 in the nine countries in which it operates. In his keynote address to open the workshop, the President of the Presbyterian University College, Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Addo Obeng, urged African governments to make more funds available for agriculture….

Survey on Fisheries Resources Conducted
The Deputy Regional FAO Representative for Africa and FAO Country Representative for Ghana, Mr. Abebe Haile Gabriel has observed that experiences from other jurisdictions have shown that effective fishery research is decisive for profitable and sustainable fisheries development. He notes that Africa has diverse fisheries resources with immense potential and many opportunities for contributing significantly to the socio-economic growth of the continent as well as improving livelihoods of its citizens. “During the last decade the continent has made tremendous progress in restoring fisheries and aquaculture which was one of the priorities for national and regional development”, Haile Gabriel added. However, the FAO recognises that challenges still remain. Weak human and institutional capacities continue to be a key constraint for a positive transformation of the fisheries sector. The FAO country representative said this is evident in the insufficient human capacity to cover key areas in fisheries management and research as well as weak information-collection and analysis systems…

Italy to Help Ghana Develop a Fishing Cluster
This was on the backdrop of an agreement signed between the Apam district and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in October 2015 aimed at improving fish production in Ghana. The agreement is also intended to increase the contribution of the fishing industry to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 4.7 per cent to 27 per cent. A delegation from Italy have paid a working visit to Ghana to assist with the development of the fishing cluster in the country…

‘Local Palm Oil is Safe for Consumption’
A Senior Regulatory Officer and Head of the Food-borne Diseases Surveillance Unit of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mr. Benjamin Osei Tutu has assured that palm oil sold at the various local markets across the country is safe for consumption. “Consumers should be assured that the FDA is doing all it can to ensure safety of the food we eat. Henceforth, it is alright to consume palm oil without fear,” he said. He made the known at a sensitisation forum held at Madina in Accra organised by the Department of Oil Palm Research (OPR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with the FDA. Some selected markets visited included Mallam Atta, Dome, Dansoman, Agbogbloshie, Kaneshie, Tema Community One, Ashaiman, Madina and Makola No.2. According to the authority, a market survey it conducted in 10 markets in the Greater Accra Region last November showed that 90 per cent of palm oil products in those markets were free from the Sudan IV dye, the textile dye that causes cancer. In August last year, the authority warned the public against the consumption of palm oil sold on the market after it was discovered that palm oil samples picked from some markets had tested positive for the Sudan IV dye…

Reports/Articles
Persistent Organochlorine Pesticide Residues in Cocoa Beans from Ghana, a Concern for Public Health
ED Okoffo, BY Fosu-Mensah, C Gordon - International Journal of Food Contamination, 2016
Residual levels of fifteen (15) organochlorine pesticides were determined in 32 cocoa bean samples collected from sixteen (16) selected cocoa farms in the Dormaa West District of Ghana to assess the levels of pesticides contamination… The levels of organochlorine pesticide residues in the fermented dried cocoa beans analysed compared to the European Union (EU) commission regulations on pesticide residues showed no health risks to consumers of cocoa beans from Ghana and no threat to cocoa export to Europe. The occurrence of organochlorine pesticide residues in the samples analysed could be due to their illegal use by farmers in the study area or due to their past use, since these chemicals are prohibited from agricultural use in Ghana. There should be regular monitoring of pesticide residues especially in cocoa beans to protect consumers from health related risks. There is a need to check and enforce regulations on the use of banned/restricted and unapproved pesticides in cocoa production in Ghana…

 Design, Construction and Evaluation of an Evaporative Cooler for Sweet Potatoes Storage
EA Seweh, JO Darko, A Addo, PA Asagadunga… - Agricultural Engineering …, 2016
A 14.4 × 86.0 × 70.0 cm mud evaporative cooler was designed and constructed for the storage of sweet potato roots to evaluate its performance in storing orange fleshed sweet potato variety (Apomuden) roots. The investigation lasted for 14 weeks, from November 2014 to February, 2015. The dry bulb (Tdb) and wet bulb temperatures (Twb) for the ambient storage ranged between 27.600C to 26.900C and 22.500C to 20.100C respectively with their corresponding RH of 64.00%, 77.00% respectively, while Tdb and Twb within the cooler ranged between 25.940C to 24.860C and 21.940C to 20.610C with corresponding R.H of 89.00% to 92.00% respectively. The efficiency of the constructed evaporative cooler was 87.17%. From an initial weight of 2000 g, roots weight decreased to 1298.3 g during the storage period, while the weight loss within the cooler was from 2000 g to 1570.65 g over the same period. Also, the moisture content of the roots stored under ambient conditions declined from 68.9% to 48.35%. Roots stored in the evaporative cooler declined from 68.9% to 60.80%. As mc decreased from 68.9% to 48.35%, energy content increased from an initial of 501 to 858.677 kJ/100g under ambient storage while in the evaporative cooler, as mc declined, from 68.9% to 60.8%, energy content increased from an initial of 501.518 to 642.296 kJ/100g. The evaporative cooler ….

Role of High-Valued Market Participation on Poverty Reduction among African Leafy Vegetable Farmers in Kenya
E Ngenoh, SW Kebede, HK Bett, W Bokelmann - African Journal of Horticultural …, 2016
Agriculture is fundamental for achieving food and nutritional security as well as income generation to the poor and has a strong linkage effects in driving the overall growth and contributing to poverty reduction. Agricultural markets provide an opportunity for farm production to contribute to household food security and poverty reduction through the cash income realized from the sales of farm produce. Despite this role, smallholders are the world poorest who face chronic poverty and food insecurity yet they are the main players in the agriculture sector. Additionally, there is little knowledge and/or documentation regarding the linkages between smallholder African leafy vegetables (ALVs) production and marketing in Kenya. Therefore, this paper aimed at determining the role of high-valued market participation on the welfare of the smallholder ALVs producers’ in Kenya. It highlights the contribution of ALVs in promoting households’ Food and Nutritional Security (FNS). The paper concludes that high-valued market participation is a core element in smallholder commercialization as it links power between input and output markets as well as being a tool, which equips them …

Nutrient Content of Fish Powder from Low Value Fish and Fish Byproducts
L Abbey, M Glover‐Amengor, MO Atikpo, A Atter… - Food Science & Nutrition, 2016
Consuming small-sized fish species whole, and bones of large fish could contribute significantly to reducing the level of micronutrient and protein malnutrition. These fish products are more affordable and could therefore meet the needs of poor, vulnerable groups, particularly in rural and urban areas where limited economic resources prevent dietary diversity. The objectives of the study were to produce fish powder from dried edible byproducts from fish processing factories, an underutilized fish species, burrito and to determine the physical, micromineral, macronutrient and microbiological quality of the dried fish powder. Edible fish processing byproducts and an underutilized fish, burrito (Brachydeuterus auritus) were cleaned thoroughly and dried with a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) gas-fuelled oven at 55°C for 8 h or until dried. The dried products were milled into powder, and packaged into polythene bags. Proximate analysis of the fish powder was done Official Methods of Analysis (AOAC) methods. Minerals and heavy metals in the fish powder were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). Microbiological quality was determined by Nordic Committee on Food Analysis Method (NMLK) methods. Tuna trimmings contained 80.71 g/100 g protein, whereas burrito contained ….

* The GSSP News Digest just summarizes news that is reported in the press. Any errors of fact or omission are not IFPRI’s responsibility*

Ghana Agricultural News Digest – July 4, 2016

2016 July 4
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Rise of Sweet Potato Farming in Ghana
This season, the majority of farmers in Nabdam, Ghana, have decided to take up large scale cultivation of orange flesh sweet potato. The farmers drawn from several communities declared their intention at a Stakeholders Platform Forum, organized by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA) on the theme”Orange Flesh Sweet Potato Production, Consumption, Processing and Marketing for Enhanced Households Food Security”. PARDA, a Non-Governmental Organization working in rural areas in Northern Ghana in the area of Community Agriculture Intensification and Food Security (CAIFS), with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, increased the farmers' capacity in orange flesh sweet potato storage technology during the 2015 crop season and this led to the increase of the crop production…

Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG) to Revolutionize Cereal Production in Ghana
Cereal production is undoubtedly an essential element in increasing the breadbasket of a country most especially, an emerging economy like Ghana. To this end there have been several calls for a special focus on increasing the capacity of small holder farmers as well as peasant farmers as a means of boosting food security. This growing need has been reiterated at a training session, organized under the auspices of the Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG) in the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga for 150 farmers and extension officers to enlighten them on the importance of using quality fertilizers for higher yields. In his remarks, the Bolgatanga Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Apinya Dominic emphasized the importance for farmers to invest in high quality fertilizer for more yield and commended AMG for organizing such an event. The farmers were taken through the use of NPK 25-10-10 by the General Manager of AMG during which he stressed the need for cereal farmers to apply fertilizers with higher nitrogen content. Sales and Marketing Manager of AMG Dorothy Opoku stated that “cereal production the world over has seen significant improvement in yield per unit area. In most of these countries, the secrets to crop production have been unraveled to as many farmers as possible “she said...

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – June 27, 2016

2016 June 27
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by Gladys Baaba Arhin

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Agribusiness Financing Receives Boost
Eximguaranty Ghana Limited and the USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FinGAP) are collaborating to provide credit guarantees which are expected to increase financing for agricultural development and innovation in Ghana. The collaboration, according to Felix Ntrakwah-Board Chairman of Eximguaranty, was born out of the fact that agribusinesses seeking financing to meet their business needs lack the fixed asset collateral usually demanded by financial institutions. “Exim is therefore collaborating with FinGAP to support Small and Medium including Large Enterprises with viable business ventures in the maize, rice and soy value chain, through the provision of credit guarantee in favour of financial institutions offering credit,” he said. To ease the full burden of guarantee fees on the borrower, FinGAP will pay 50 percent of the guarantee fee upon approval and acceptance of terms and conditions by the financial institution. FinGAP has received a grant of US$100,000 from USAID in favour of Exim, earmarked to support paying 50 percent of the guarantee fees that would have been borne by the applicant….

SADA Bank to Give Farmers Long-term Credit – CEO
The Chief Executive Officer of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Charles Abugre, has said that establishment of the Savanna Investment and Development Bank is a move to assist farmers have access to medium to long term financing. Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of a programme held in Accra to draw up a road map for the operations of the Authority, Mr. Abugre said short term financing has proven to be inimical to the operations of farmers and has been the reason farmers are unable to pay back loans, which is why SADA has initiated the establishment of the bank. themed: “Accelerate Transformation of the Northern Savannah Zone Through Agriculture”, “One of the problems we have is that all the universal banks lend their money over the short term, but agricultural takes a longer period to become productive enough to be viable. So that is what we are trying to sponsor the Savanna Investment and Development Bank,” he said. “The idea is to create a largely private-sector-owned entity with a bit of public sector participation. It is going to be a wholesale bank which will mobilize money to provide long term capital and lend it to banks so that the banks will in turn lend it to farmers over the medium to long term,” he added….

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