Ghana Agricultural News Digest – August 3, 2015

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Agricultural Issues
New Vegetable Lab Launched to Boost Food Security
A new regional laboratory in Ghana is seeking to develop the vegetable industry through research, development and innovation to improve food and nutritional security in West Africa.   It will do this through increased use of indigenous vegetables. The laboratory will facilitate new approaches for engaging relevant stakeholders in the vegetable value chain for addressing the challenges of the industry.  The Vegetables Innovation Laboratory (VIL), which is located at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) based at the University of Ghana, will undertake research in genetic improvement; vegetable production, quality and processing and policy research. Its focus will also be on value chains, socio-economic research and knowledge management system…

Biotechnology is Essential for Africa
Speakers at an International short course for Policy Makers in Ghana and Nigeria say biotechnology may not be a panacea for food security in Africa but very essential. With 65 per cent of Africa's labour workforce employed by agriculture coupled with aging farmers, climate change, drought and famine and the youth shunning agriculture, Biotech stands to optimize productivity and contribute to food, feed and fiber security. The global challenge of doubling food by 2050 with less resources in water and Africa's population is estimated to reach four million in 2100; there is the need to adopt a crop improvement strategy that integrates the best of conventional and the best of the new (Biotech) to optimize productivity and contribute to food, feed and fiber security and address climate …

Farmers Attend Workshop on Biotechnology
CropLife Ghana, in collaboration with CropLife Middle East (CLAME), has held a day’s workshop to sensitise the public, especially farmers and input-retailers, to biotechnology and related issues in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital. The workshop was aimed at educating participants about improved ways to enhance the country’s agricultural potential. In an address, the Programme Manager of Croplife, Mr. Frederick Boampong, said the workshop would expose participants to issues to enable them to appreciate biotechnology to enable them to make informed choices. Resource persons, who were drawn from research institutions to speak on current issues such as Genetically Modified Foods (GMO), expressed the hope that the participants would find the workshop useful. The President of CropLife Ghana, Mr. William Kotey, noted that besides creating awareness, the workshop was also a platform for the expression of divergent views on GMOs...

Expand Cocoa Investments to Create Jobs - Otumfuo tells PBC
Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is challenging the Produce Buying Company (PBC), to explore creative ways to get the country’s unemployed youth off the streets. He said many of today’s youth are overwhelmed by rapid socio-economic changes, amid joblessness and financial difficulty which makes them unable to firmly establish themselves. At the commissioning of the Golden Bean Hotel, PBC’s subsidiary in Kumasi, Otumfuo charged the company to expand its scope of investments in cocoa. “I challenge you to expand the frontiers of employment through creativity to rid our streets of young men and women who appear overwhelmed by rapid socio-economic changes and are unable to establish themselves firmly due to rising unemployment and financial challenges,” Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said.

Coffee Cultivation Picks up Country Wide
Ghana’s coffee industry is gradually picking up as a result of the Revamp Coffee Project (CRP) launched by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in 2011. Since the project started, more than 2,000 hectares of land have been cultivated by coffee farmers throughout the country. Last year, 2,500 metric tonnes was realized from coffee farms which had a target yield of 10,000 metric tonnes within two years. The country’s coffee industry collapsed totally with some of the farmers destroying their coffee plantations and using their land for maize cultivation because it was difficult for them to get buyers. The Deputy Director of Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Tafo in the Eastern Region, Dr George Opoku, made this known when he inaugurated the Dormaa Area Coffee Farmers’ Association (DACFA) at Dormaa Ahenkro in the Brong Ahafo Region last Wednesday.

2015 National Farmers’ Day Launched
The Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, yesterday launched the 2015 edition of the National Farmers’ Day in Accra, with a call for more investment in the agriculture  sector to transform the country’s rural economies and halt the rural-urban migration. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, yesterday launched the 2015 edition of the National Farmers’ Day in Accra, with a call for more investment in the agriculture sector to transform the country’s rural economies and halt the rural-urban migration. He said the transformation that was so much desired by the Ghanaian economy could only be attained through a well-coordinated strategic investment into the agriculture sector. This year’s National Farmers’ Day, the 31st edition, will fall on December 4, 2015 on the theme, “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”. It will be held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. Mr. Terkper stressed that the agricultural sector as a tool for transformation could be effected on the national …

AGRA’s Sponsored Students Graduate with PhD
Ten West African students sponsored by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have graduated with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Plant Breeding at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana. They include Dr Joseph Adjabeng Danquah, Dr Ernest Baafi, Dr Liliane Tandzi Ngounge Dr Oumarou Souleymane, Dr Nasser Laouali Mahamane, Dr Joseph Teyloue Benoit Batieno, Dr Alice Jelimo Kosgel, Dr Kenneth Fafa Egbadzor, Dr Apala Hortense Mafouasson and Dr Mohammad Lawan Umar. The graduates are from six African countries namely Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya and Niger. The graduates, who specialized in plant breeding in Africa, were part of the post-graduate students of the University of Ghana, who graduated at a congregation held in Accra, on Friday. Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Director of WACCI, said the centre was established at the University of Ghana in June 2007, with funding from the AGRA to...

Stakeholders Considering Options to Save Fishing Sector
Stakeholders in the fishing industry are considering the adoption of potential management options to save the country’s small pelagic fishery from collapsing. The options include ending open access, closed seasons, closed fishing areas, additional weekly fishing holidays , increased net mesh size, cap and reduction in the number of canoes, daily landing quota , removal of fuel subsidies and territorial use rights. The landing of small pelagic fishes such as sardines, mackerel and anchovies, are fast declining in the country due to weak governance, over-capacity and open access fishery that allow overfishing from an increasing number of boats and fishers. This was made known at a media orientation workshop on the USAID/ Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP).

Prevailing Weather Favorable for Fishing – Meteo
The present weather conditions hold promise of a good catch for fishermen along the coast, Mr. Tetteh Portuphy, Senior Meteorologist at the Ghana Meteorological Agency, Kotoka International Airport (KIA), has said. "Up-welling or cold current, bring nutrients to the sea surface. Fish follow these nutrients in their numbers to the surface, making them easy target for fishermen", Mr. Portuphy explained in an interview with the Ghana News Agency. He said Southern Ghana was currently experiencing what was known in meteorological terms as the “little dry spell,” which was characterized by a fall in temperatures along the coast. “During this season, the sea surface temperature becomes cold,” he said. Mr. Portuphy said this was the season when fishermen would typically enjoy “bumper harvests”, because a lot of fish could be found at the sea surface.

Groundnut Holds Huge Export Potential for Economy
Groundnuts have been identified as one of the major cash crops with huge export potentials for the country, Mr. Stephen Normeshie, General Manger of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has said. “Ghana, with its favourable climatic conditions and abundant rich soil, has a comparative and competitive advantage in groundnuts and cereal exports, and hence is well-positioned to take advantage of international market opportunities to develop the sector,” he said. “Viewing the huge export potentials of groundnuts, there is need for government, the private sector and NGOs to invest needed resources in the sector so as to help reduce poverty in Northern Ghana,” Mr. Normeshie said. Mr. Normeshie was speaking at Navrongo in the Upper East Region to climax a three-month …

Local Oil Palm Growers Cry for Protection
With 50% low yield and high cost of infrastructure, maintenance and electricity, it will be very difficult for local farmers to compete with Crude Palm Oil (CPO) imported from the Far East without the duty protection, smallholder oil palm growers have said. Average yield of CPO per hectare of plantations in the Far East is 5.5 metric tonnes in comparison to 2.5 to 3.00 metric tonnes in nucleus estates of the country, even after practicing best plantation procedures. This yield disparity is due to the rainfall pattern and soil structure. In Malaysia, rain is evenly distributed throughout the year whereas in Ghana for four months plants will not see a drop of rain, Mr. Charles Lawrence Twumasi-Ankrah, a farmer and an executive member of Oil Palm Smallholder/Outgrowers Association told a media…

Rejoinder: Poultry Farmers Call for Agro Insurance Policy
Our attention had been drawn to a publication in page 2 of the Monday, July 27, 2015 edition of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) issue 1975, captioned, “POULTRY FARMERS CALL FOR AGRO INSURANCE POLICY.” The Technical Management Unit (TMU) of the  GHANA AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE POOL (GAIP), wants to bring to the notice of the general public and Poultry Farmers in particular (to whom the said publication intended to address), that; GHANA AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE POOL (GAIP), Ghana’s Premier Agro Insurer, was established to provide the much needed Agricultural Insurance Services to all key stakeholders in the agricultural production value chain. It has been operational in Ghana since 2011. GAIP represents 17 Non-Life Insurance Companies who…

Identify and Assess the Challenges of Cotton Production in the Tolon District of the Northern Region, Ghana
AB Yssif, D Mohammed, I Hamdu - International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 2015
This paper presents a study to identify and assess the challenges of cotton production in the Tolon District of the Northern Region. This is an applied research study of a descriptive-surveying kind .The objectives of this research is to; assess the level of Capacity building that cotton farmers have received to boost production during the past decade (2002 – 2012), assess the quality of inputs given to cotton companies, to identify and assess farmers concerns over the system of recovery of inputs cost to farmers in the Tolon District within the period, and to determine whether prices paid for seed cotton over the years afford farmers a surplus income. Cotton production in Ghana started in 1968 under the control of the Cotton Development Board of the Ministry of Agriculture and performed its function effectively until 1977 when production began to fall due to declining producer prices relative to food crops. Indications are that Ghana achieved high level of production before other...

Functional and Pasting Properties of Wheat / Plantain Flours Enriched with Bambara Groundnut Protein Concentrate
J Eke-Ejiofor, SY Giami - 2015
Composite flour was prepared from wheat/plantain flours (0-40%) enriched with bambara groundnut protein concentrate (0-30%) and using 100% wheat flour as control. Functional and pasting properties of the composite flour were evaluated. The bulk density of the flour blends ranged from 0.34g/ml (100% wheat flour) to 0.47g/ml, (95% plantain flour and 5% protein concentrate) suggesting that plantain flour is heavier than other substituted samples. Oil and water absorption capacities showed that 95% plantain flour had the least values of 69.0% and 71.3%, respectively and increased significantly with increase in the levels of bambara groundnut protein concentrate. Foam capacity increased with increase in Bambara groundnut protein concentrate added, however, foam unstability was significantly higher (65.1%) in sample with (95%) plantain flour and 5% bambara groundnut protein concentrate. Emulsion capacity increased significantly (P ≥ 0.05) from 32.4% to 64.1% and…

Gender Analysis of Households’ Decision-making to Reduce Post-harvest Losses of Cassava in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam
PB Abdulsalam-Saghir, B Bennett, W Quaye, V Phu Tu… - Food Chain, 2015
This study analysed gender dimensions of decision-making at the household level in cassava enterprise in Ghana, Nigeria, and Vietnam in the context of risks and benefits to food security to ensure value addition to reduce post-harvest losses from cassava. Rapid participatory rural appraisal was used to select a total of 501 households in the countries chosen for this study. Focus and group discussions (F and GD) and semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect primary data. Data were analysed descriptively. Twenty cassava-based activities linked to gender activities in cassava processing households in the selected countries were identified. In all three countries, final decisions to allocate and use resources were taken by men - although women are commonly responsible for post-harvest management. Ownership of production and processing assets is positively skewed to men across the sample with women having rights of use only. Household decision-making objectives for generating

Mobile Phone Use in Ugandan Aquaculture: Farmer Experiences and Aspirations
M Matuha - 2015
Aquaculture, being largely non-traditional in Uganda, is challenged by inadequate information and technical assistance to guide farmers. Farmers in Uganda have accumulated enough experience in growing crops and livestock farming, but they have little information on raising fish. Mobile phones could improve aquaculture productivity by increasing access to technical guidance, extension services, product assembly, input coordination, and price discovery for small-scale fish farmers. However, little is known about the potential impact of mobile phone use on aquaculture learning and conveying needs and interests of fish farmers in Uganda. The objectives of this study were (1) to review the literature on the use of mobile phones in agricultural development, (2) to assess mobile phones as a source of information for fish farmers in Uganda and (3) to examine the reported experiences and perception of mobile phone use among fish farmers in Uganda. Five focused group …

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