Ghana Agricultural News Digest – April 17
New Project to Invest US $12 Million to Boost Yam Productivity
In one of the most ambitious efforts ever undertaken on behalf of an orphan crop like yam, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and a host of partners announced today a landmark new initiative to dramatically boost yam productivity and double the incomes of three million yam farmers in West Africa. The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project, which is supported by a US$12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be led by IITA in collaboration with the governments of Ghana and Nigeria, the UK's Natural Resources Institute (NRI), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The YIIFSWA project will focus on increasing yields through better seed tuber supply and improving markets for this underground, edible tuber--some of which are as small as a fist, others as tall as a man. Yams were first domesticated by African farmers 7,000 years ago. Today, 48.1 million tons of yams are produced annually across 4.4 million hectares of land in West Africa's "Yam Belt"--which extends from Cote D'Ivoire to Nigeria, representing over 90 percent of the global production.
Agric Ssector to Get Boost from $3bn Chinese Loan
A deputy minister at the finance ministry, Fiifi Kwettey has told Citi Business News government will this year roll out a more pragmatic approach to boost the agriculture sector’s input in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite the potential to be the highest contributor to the country’s GDP, the agricultural sector has over the years been the least contributor to the growth of the economy. According to revised estimates released from the Ghana Statistical Service on Wednesday, the agriculture sector contributed the least to the growth of the economy last year.
Register with COCOBOD
EXPORTERS of shea-nut have been told to register with the Ghana Cocoa Board and obtain a license for their business. Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board who gave the advice at the launch of the 2012 Northern Ghana Investment Conference and the Northern Business Excellent Awards in Accra Wednesday, noted that the shea sector contributed significantly to poverty reduction and had prospects of yielding higher profits. “Ghana’s shea is highly valued by the international buyers on account of its high oil content and it would therefore be appropriate that all shea-nut exporters duly register their businesses to facilitate their smooth operation,” he stated.
Should Food Security be an Issue in the 2012 Elections?
Peace FM Online
Ghana has been hailed as a “beacon of hope” on the African continent due to its record of political stability and progress in development areas. In about seven months from now the country will once again go to the polls to judge the governance of the current NDC led regime, and the question is what this judgment by the people should be based on. In a recent article the author stated that, “regrettably in Ghana, campaign stump speeches both in the past and even in recent times have been high on form and very low on substance.” According to the author Issues, ideas, policy alternatives on health, education, shelter, food security, national security, energy, mass transit etc. feed political discussions in countries that are development oriented. Food security has been high on the global agenda since 2008 and the world, including Ghana, reeled under high and volatile food prices caused by the 2008 – 09 food crisis, a crisis that was followed by the 2011 – 12 food crisis. These crises drove millions more people into poverty and thus placing them at risk of malnutrition and starvation.
News Articles from the Daily Graphic Newspaper
Government Pays GH₵1.25b compensation to Bui Farmers
The Government of Ghana has paid GH₵1,255,630 to 580 farmers in the Tain District in the Brong Ahafo Region. The monies were paid as compensation to farmers who were affected by the construction of the Bui Dam. The affected farmers are from Bator, Brewohodi, Dokakyina, Resettlement Site, Bui Community, Akanyakrom, Agbegyekrom and the Jama Resettlement Site.
The payments were made through the Land Valuation Division (LVD) of the Lands Commission. Compensation ranged from GH₵25 to GH₵73,000. Mr. Juankim Besew the compensation process began in 2010 with the cataloging of economic trees and crops. It also included inventory, verification of farmlands and settlement disputes.
Some farmers who were compensated expressed their disappointment with the government about the amounts they were paid. They claimed the money given them were far less than the value of cashew crops that had been destroyed to make way for the construction of the dam five years ago. They complained that the value of each cashew tree was not disclosed to them during the evaluation, nor had they been involved in the inventory of the trees.
Daily Graphic, Monday, April 9, 2012. No. 18811, page 1.
Forum Held for Cocoa Farmers in Kwaebibirim
The Eastern Regional Secretariat of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) held a rally at Akyem Apinamang in the Kwaebibirim district to educate farmers on the best farming practices to improve production. Mr. Francis Antwi Adjei, the Regional Manager of CSSVD, encouraged farmers to cut down affected trees since there was no known cure. He stated that applying fertilizer to affected trees in the hopes of attaining a higher yield was a fruitless action. Yields from affected trees would continue to dwindle until the tree finally dies in three to five years. Mr. Adjei also stated that there was the risk of infecting other trees on the farm as well as those on another person’s farm.
The Regional Manager promised farmers they would receive compensation for affected trees that were cut down and be given free hybrid cocoa seedlings that would start bearing fruits within two to three years of planting. He appealed to farmers to report cases of swollen shoot disease to the regional office as soon as they detect it.
Daily Graphic, Tuesday, April 10, 2012. No. 18812, page 23.
MDGs to remove 3 million from Extreme Poverty
If the current progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are maintained, this would mean lifting more than three million people from the brackets of extreme poverty by 2015. According to the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS), there are 6,951,670 people currently with that bracket and this represents 28.5% of Ghana’s population of 24,391,823.
The poverty brackets includes individuals who earn between GH₵288.47, being the lower poverty line, and GH₵370.89 being the upper poverty line, per adult per year. The Country Director of the United Nations Development Program, Mr. Kamil S. Kamaludeen said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic at a Millennium Development Goals summit held in Kumasi. He presented a paper on Ghana’s performance towards achieving the global timelines for eliminating poverty and stated that Ghana’s progress towards achieving the MDGs were positive compared to other developing African countries.
The Country Director said that the percentage of those within the poverty brackets had been consistently reducing from a 52% high in 1990 to its current rate of 28.5%. This provided evidence that Ghana was in a position to attain goal one of the MDGs – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. He however stated that in spite of Ghana’s progress, the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions were in danger of not meeting the goal by 2015.
Daily Graphic, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. No. 18813, page 33.
If you need additional information of this article, please contact Adwoa Kwarteng with the citation of the requested paper.
Determinants of aggregate agricultural productivity among food crop farmers in Rivers State, Nigeria
J. Vocational Education & Technology (2009) Vol. 6 Nos. 1 & 2
In this study, determinants of aggregate agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers in Rivers State were examined. Cross- sectional data generated from 288 food crop farmers randomly selected from 5 out of the 23 Local Government Areas were used. Multiple regression analysis was used in analyzing the data. Results of the analysis showed that farm land, labor input, planting materials, age of the farmers, farming experience and level of education are the main significant determinants of aggregate agricultural productivity in Rivers State. It is therefore recommended that appropriate policies and programs be put in place to make more lands available to the food crop farmers. Credit facilities should also be extended to them to enable them purchase improved planting materials and hire more farm hands. For effectiveness, such credit facilities should be based on the level of farming experience of the recipient.
Revitalization of Smallholder Irrigation Schemes for Poverty Alleviation and Household Food Security in South Africa: A Review
African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 7(13), pp. 1956-1969, 5 April, 2012
There seems to be a general consensus that improving agriculture and enhancing agricultural productivity through irrigation will remain a key strategy for rural poverty alleviation in most of the low income countries, where the majority of the rural poor depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. Nevertheless, Smallholder Irrigation Schemes (SIS) in South Africa have performed poorly and have not delivered on their development objectives of improving rural livelihoods through sustainable crop production for food security and poverty alleviation. For a long time, dilapidated irrigation infrastructure was viewed as the single major cause of the poor performance and the government invested huge sums of money towards repairing infrastructure. Consequently, research and expenditure tended to focus on irrigation infrastructure, but often this proved fruitless because the human capital was not developed to effectively utilize and maintain the infrastructure. Recent research, however, has identified weak institutional and organizational arrangements and poor technical skills of farmers as probably the major factors leading to underperformance of most SIS. It is therefore recommended that crop production approaches including farmer training be considered alongside all other issues during revitalization of SIS to improve on performance.
The Heterogeneous Impact of Agro-Input Subsidies on Maize Production: A Field Experiment in Mozambique
University of Wisconsin Madison, Paris School of Economics.
We evaluate the impact of an agro-input subsidy randomly assigned among Mozambican farmers in the Manica province. The subsidy covers 73% of the cost of a fertilizer and improved-seed package for a half hectare of maize production. We find that receiving a voucher significantly increased the use of inputs in maize production by 37% of the subsidized fertilizer and 62% of the subsidized improved seeds, revealing substantial leakages. The average impact on maize production is not very robust when keeping the whole sample. The combination of a late distribution of vouchers and a late drought significantly reduced the benefits of the program. The impact was stronger and most significant among small farmers (cultivating less than five hectares of maize), for whom receiving the voucher generated an average increase in maize production of a value almost that is almost equal to the market price of the package. However, conditional on using the entire package for maize, the average increase in the production of small farmers is more than twice the market value of the package. An analysis in the change of the distribution in production reveals important heterogeneity of impact, with the most productive farmers benefiting the most from the subsidy.