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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – September 27, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
State Urged to Adopt Single Rice Seedlings
It is estimated that Ghana imports between US$200 and US$400 million rice annually. The amount is said to be one of the major factors that swells the country’s import bill, while putting pressure on the local cedi which is consistently losing value against the United States’ dollar. Due to the high demand for the cereal, particularly the perfumed brand, many business people have found rice imports a lucrative venture and are importing from all sources around the world. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Worawora Rice Limited, Mr. Yaw Adu Poku, has underscored the need for the country to adopt a single rice seedlings for local rice production in the country. That, he said, would help increase consumption and encourage farmers to cultivate more to enable the country to become the hub of rice production within the West African sub region. Speaking to the Graphic Business on the sidelines of a rice workshop, Mr. Opoku said the consumption of local rice every year was increasing, hence the state must capitalise on it in order to reap the results. “It is crucial for the country to adopt a single rice seedlings for local rice production in order to complement the increasing patronage due to the improving packaging, absence of stones and chaff in the cultivation of varieties similar to the imported ones,” he said.

USD 200,000 Rice Foundation Seeds Destroyed at Port
Sixty tonnes of foundation seeds worth US$200,000 meant for rice cultivation can no longer be used as seeds because they were kept at the Tema port for several months after they had arrived. The foundation seeds arrived at the port in January 2016 but the PVL was able to clear them at the beginning of September and after several tests had been conducted on them it was realised that they could no longer be used for the purpose for which they had been imported. “They spent about eight to nine months in the container so they have been cooking on the sea. For seeds like this, within three months or so you have to plant them. He said once the seeds were in the country, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should have immediately taken control of them. Subsequently, he blamed the delay in clearing the seeds at the port on bureaucracy and the attitude of the government towards PVL. “This is one example of the attitude towards PVL and it is costing us,” he told the Daily Graphic when the paper visited the company at Aveyime in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – September 19, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
USAID Donate Items worth GHC 900,000 to Boost Agriculture
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presented tablets and other information and technology (I.T) equipment worth GHC 900,000 to the statistics, Research and Information Directorate (SRID) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). The electronic equipment and software were donated to enhance the collection of agricultural statistics. The I.T equipment and data collection system is expected to minimize human error in agricultural data collection and analysis, as well as improve overall data quality and credibility. In his acceptance speech, the Deputy Minister for crops, Alhaji Yakubu Alhassan said: “It will significantly improve the Ministry’s capacity to undertake field surveys and collect, secure, and analyze data. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Software and equipment is just the first step.

Can the SADA Master Plan Unlock Agric Potential?
The SADA Master Plan was envisaged in 2015 at the authority's maiden SADA Business and Investment Forum in Tamale. There, an international leadership consultant, Dr. Victor Koh, shared his experience on how Singapore was able to use the right planning to transform its economy. In recent years, Ghana has been spending a minimum of US$1.5 billion of its already limited resources to import food annually while some eight million hectares of agriculture-friendly arable lands continue to waste away in the Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ). Accounting for 54.5percent of Ghana's landmass, optimal agricultural production in the NSEZ, which covers five administrative regions and is home to 30percent of the population, can produce enough food to feed the entire nation and leave some for export.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – September 15, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Cocoa Industry Gets $1m Interest-free Loan
Olam Ghana Limited has given over 1,000 cocoa farmer $1million interest-free loans in addition to the GHS4million premium it paid them for the 2015/2016 cocoa season. Head of Business at Olam Ghana Limited, Eric Botwe revealed this at the Olam Cocoa Managers conference in Accra. The conference was held to sensitize the about 400 Olam Cocoa Managers about the vision of the company and to chart a course going forward. Mr. Botwe noted that currently, Ghana is producing about 850,000 tons I'd cocoa every year, out or which alone Olam purchases over 90,000 tons, representing almost 13 percent market share. "As a company, we believe in growing responsibly by reinvesting in the people and communities in which we operate and that was what informed the increase in premiums by 15 per ton and the advance of a US$1m interest-free loans to empower the farmers," he said.

Traders Shun Local Tomatoes …for Burkina and Ivorian Varieties
Tomato sellers in the country have abandoned tomatoes produced in large volumes across the Brong Ahafo Region in favour of Burkinabe and Ivorian tomatoes, B&FT has learned. The traders claim locally produced tomatoes are watery, too seedy and above all, have shorter lifespan, hence their preference for exotic varieties. Farmers in the region do not have access to the required varieties to cultivate, hence the deepening of their woes. In fact, many tomato farmers in places like Derma, Techimantia and Dwomo have started growing other crops such as chili pepper and maize. This is to help them generate enough income to defray the huge indebtedness that hangs around their necks from the failed tomato business.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – September 5, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
ADB Wins Best Bank in Agric, Forestry and Fisheries Financing
The Agricultural Development Bank has been adjudged the best bank in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing at the 15th Ghana Banking Awards held in Accra. The Ghana Banking Awards is recognized as the event which awards the best performing banks in the country, and ADB emerged tops in financing the Agric, Forestry and Fisheries sector which is recognized as the backbone of Ghana’s economy.  Though many banks and financial institutions shun the provision of credit to farmers due to the risky nature of the sector, the bank over the past five years invested over GH¢350million in different areas within the  sector. Managing Director, Daniel Asiedu said winning the award is an indication that the bank remains committed to the reason for its establishment. “Winning the award is an indication that even in the midst of stiff industry competition and an unpredictable agricultural sector the bank remains committed to ensure that the sector remains a major contributor to our economy,” he said.

Asutsuare Rice Business Centre Officially Opened
The Ghana Rice Inter - Professional Body (GRIB) in its five years strategic plan ending 2017, has establishment the Ghana Rice Business Centers (GRBCs) within the various rice growing zones of the country, aimed at delivering effective commercial services to rice value chain actors. The center, located at Asutsuare is the first to be opened officially in the country for the industry actors including producers, aggregators, millers, marketers, service providers. The launching of the center which was in attendance all stakeholders in the rice industry within the Shai Hills, Osu Doku district, representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), JAK Foundation. Representatives were also drawn from various key partners working with GRIB to run the center including Addicent Foods, Regional Marketing Group (RMG) and Agricultural Manufacturing Group (AMG). Mr. Imoro Amoro, President, GRIB speaking at the official launch explained the various challenges facing the actors in the rice value chain industry as it create huge supply gap of locally produced rice in the country.

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Ghana Agricultural News Digest – August 22, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Ghana to Host World Groundnut Researchers in Tamale
The annual meeting for the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab, which is made up of scientists and student researchers working through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Feed the Future program to improve food security and profits for producers, processors and marketers of groundnut, will gather scientists from Africa, the United States and Haiti in Tamale on Wednesday August 18 to share information about the latest developments in groundnut research.  The scientists, numbering about 60 in all would visit research plots and farms as they make stops in Tamale, Accra and Kumasi. In a statement issued in Tamale and copied to the GNA by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) said the project in Ghana conducts research on groundnuts from the farm to the market to consumers’ tables saying “research starts even before the seeds are planted in the ground, testing which types of seeds will produce the safest and greatest yields in Ghanaian fields”.

Two Give to Cocoa Farmers
Agroecom Ghana Ltd (Amajaro), a leading cocoa-buying company in the country in collaboration with Lindt, a chocolate manufacturing company in Switzerland have provided free farming inputs to over 41 cocoa farmers aimed at helping them to improve on their farming activities. The items which cost GH¢2 million comprised sprayers, wellington boots, machetes and clothing for farm work. The inputs which were supplied at a ceremony held at Bonsu-Nkwanta in the Dwaboso District in the Western Region was on the theme, “Cocoa Sustainability - a key to improving farmers’ productivity and livelihood,” and  was directed at showing appreciation to the farmers who have shown commitment in sustaining cocoa cultivation and production in the country.

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