Ghana Agricultural News Digest – May 17, 2016

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

 Africa Lead Trains Students to Champion Agricultural Transformation
A US support capacity building programme, Africa Lead, has organised leadership course for students from Ashesi University to champion new solutions for aggressive agricultural transformation to guarantee food security and improved livelihoods. The session sought to inspire, energise and mobilise innovative leaders, champions and thinkers in Ghana and Africa who are committed to create new approaches to attaining food security with the youth at the forefront of the change process. Around 40 students received the week-long training done within the new economic partnership for African development framework - Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. The partnership, requires African countries [leaders] to allocate 10 per cent of their annual budgets to support agriculture and raise food production. Ms. Carla Denizard, Regional Director of West and Central Africa Lead, said champions for change is one of the nine different networks created, including women groups to lead vigorous …

Government Signs Agreement with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Ghana has signed an agreement with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a non-profit research organisation, to provide legal status to the Institute’s operations in the country. The agreement, in line with the country's laws, provides key reliefs, including exemptions for communication and transportation controls. Dr Tia Alfred Sugri, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the establishment of IITA West Africa Hub in the country will benefit the tourism sector as officials of IITA will be drawn from various countries to access research facilities. It will as well benefit farmers through individual and institutional capacity enhancement in science and technology, improved farm productivity and profitability. Dr Sugri said IITA’s presence would involve more Ghanaian researchers, extension agents, technicians, farmers, traders and other value chain actors to work together and enhance development ...

 Lack of Funding for Local Agric Offices Threatens Food Security
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has said efforts are ongoing to ensure financial challenges facing its regional and district agric offices -- which are now operating under metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) -- are addressed to speed up the pace development for the sector. Most agric departments of some MMDAs, since coming under the Local Government Ministry as part of government’s decentralisation agenda, have become ineffective as the financial support and resources needed for work are non-existent. This development has been attributed to the failure by some MMDAs to consider the agric departments in their budgetary allocations; a situation that is affecting local farming activities and could likely impact on food productivity in some time to come. Shockingly, checks with some of the districts officers who wanted to remain anonymous indicated that even funds for other administrative functions are not forthcoming -- thus rendering most of the staff redundant ...

 Rubber Processing Factory in the Offing
The Board of the Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Limited (GODPC) has commenced talks to construct a state-of-the-art rubber processing factory at its industrial estate at Kwae in the Kwaebibirem district of the Eastern Region. The factory, when completed by 2020, will in the first phase of its operation and is expected to produce about 15,000 tonnes of crumb rubber per year. Confirmed at its meeting held at Kwae last week, the Board unanimously resolved to build a crumb rubber processing facility by 2020. “In fact, the first planting of rubber has started already in 2012 in the uplands of GOPDC’s Kwae concession after having resolved at its 17th Annual General Meeting to amend the nature of its authorised business to include the cultivation of rubber and to construct and operate downstream processing facilities,” the Board said. A statement from the Board confirmed that a new outgrower extension scheme on rubber has already started, and GOPDC will also provide high-yielding rubber seedlings to farmers under the scheme ...

Agriculture Sector Continues to Grow Steadily – Terkper
Mr. Seth Terkper, the Minister of Finance, said the agriculture sector will continue to grow at an average of six percent annually, coupled with resource allocation of about 10 percent in line with its Medium Term Strategic Plan. He said in view of the policy, the sector had seen an average growth rate of 4.3 percent over the last six years, with the exception of the fisheries sub-sector. In relation to expenditure, Mr. Terkper said the total government expenditure to the sector has consistently increased since 2007, and government is committed to providing support to unleash the sector’s full potential. The minister said this in a speech read for him at the Third Annual Ghana Agribusiness Summit in Accra, held on Tuesday to brainstorm innovative means of financing agribusinesses in Ghana. He therefore reiterated government’s firm commitment to protecting the investments that come into the country by implementing the fiscal reform agenda aimed at making Ghana open, transparent and business-friendly in the sub-region …

Ghana To Revisit ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ Towards Food Security
Nana Dr Apiagyei Dankah Woso 1, the President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), has urged Ghanaians to consider revisiting the ‘’Operation Feed yourself Programme” towards food security. The Programme, introduced in the 1970s by the Acheampong Regime, was to enable Ghanaians to produce enough to feed the national demand. He said Operation Feed Yourself would also open more job avenues in the Agricultural sector. Nana Apiagyei Dankah said this at the inauguration of the GNCCI Council and the GNCCI Central Executive Committee, in Accra. By the Constitution of the GNCCI, the Council or the Board which is made up of representatives from all the seven regional branches and some official of the Chamber, shall be deemed as the main decision making body of the Chamber while the Central …

 Ghana Peasant Farmers Resist New GMOs Law
Ghana's peasant farmers have reacted angrily to government's moves to introduce a new law promoting the production of genetically modified seeds and animal breeds without adequate consultations. The farmers say they want the government to suspend the passing of the Plant Breeders Bill until consultations were made on aspects of the proposed law, which they feel threatens the survival of local farmers. The Bill, among other things, seeks to guarantee genetic diversity of food crops and increase production levels. The government argues these measures would ensure food security and raise household income of farm workers who constitute about 90 percent of Ghana's agricultural workforce. Since its introduction in Parliament three years ago, the Bill has faced strong resistance from farmers' groups, civil society and some political parties. "We are demanding our right to land, right to our seed and food systems and our right to choose whether we want genetically modified foods," Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana programmes coordinator Victoria Adongo told journalists on Tuesday …

MoFA Scaling-up Climate Change Policies to Benefit Farmers
Ghana’s attempt to deal with the impact of worsening climate change conditions on agriculture will fall short if concerted efforts are not made to expose policies on climate change to farmers. However, as various stakeholder-bodies continue to engage in sharing ideas and information to identify best approaches for tackling the effects of this global phenomenon on agriculture, policies that are birthed from these engagements have been asked to be packaged to the understanding of farmers. The Director of Crops Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr. Asante Krobea Emmanuel, has observed that despite several years of work by various agencies and institutions on climate change, many farmers still remain with the old agricultural practices. He explained that if farmers do not get to hear of the good initiatives, information and technologies that exist on climate change, agricultural production will continue to decline …

Experts Take Steps To Strengthen Regional Food Security
A five-day conference to discuss research findings, constraints and opportunities along the root and tuber crops value chain in the West African sub-region has opened at Fumesua near Kumasi. The goal is to promote faster agricultural growth to serve as a catalyst for accelerated economic development. The programme, hosted by the Crops Research Institute (CRI) has brought together researchers, scientists, food processors and farmers from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, Cote d’ Ivoire and Benin. The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP)-Ghana is facilitating the meeting, sponsored by jointly by the World Bank and West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (WECARD/CORAF), an international agricultural research-based organization. “Research in root and tuber crops value chain development: the hope for food security in the ECOWAS sub-region”, is the theme …

BoG Sets Aside US$100m for Agric Development in Ghana
Agriculture’s contribution to GDP has been declining over the years partly due to the low output of farmers as well as other constraints in the value chain. Some reasons cited as accounting for the decline include; inaccessibility to funding, unfavourable weather pattern as well as poor infrastructure such as road and storage facilities. The development has also impacted massively on the country’s expenditure as more resources are channeled into importing to meet the consumption needs of the people. But Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Abdul Nasir Issahaku has disclosed that the central bank has earmarked about 100 million dollars to fund the central bank’s strategy to improve Ghana’s agricultural sector. According to him, the funding will among other things reduce the high risks associated with agriculture which prevents banks from lending to players in the value chain

 Fertiliser Subsidy Programme Targets Smallholder Farmers
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), needs to investigate and address the misnomer of how some large scale farmers and farms purchase subsidised fertilisers in larger quantities above the approved ration, a new report has recommended. Large scale farmers are said to be purchasing quantities over and above the prescribed bracket, thereby defeating the rationale behind the subsidy programme which is to increase the use of fertiliser application in the country, especially among smallholder farmers. A Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Agriculture of the University of Ghana, Dr John Jatoe, said the basic idea for introducing the rationing was to cushion farmers whose use of fertiliser would have been minimal or nil, in the absence of the Fertiliser Subsidy Programme (FSP). “There is a reason for introducing the rationing so, in actual fact, it doesn’t help our course if we end up allocating fertilisers to people who could afford it anyway,” he said that during the presentation of a report on Ghana’s FSP in 2015 in Accra ...

 Agric Financing will Enhance Ghana’s Accelerated Growth Prospects
Mr. Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Tuesday said the country’s economic growth and structural transformation could be propelled by a thriving agricultural sector. He said an efficient and productive agricultural sector would undeniably enhance Ghana’s prospect for an accelerated growth. “In view of the significance of the sector, Government has decided to place greater emphasis on mechanised and commercial agriculture as well as agribusiness and value addition as means of growing the Ghanaian economy and creating employment,” he said. In a speech read for him at the Third Annual Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, Mr. Terkper said the country could not make overall progress unless the mass of small-scale food producers achieve significant improvement in their productivity through increased investment and changes in technologies. He said government sought to improve productivity along the entire value chain, which includes inputs distribution and adoption of technologies for farming activities, marketing, processing and retailing …

 2015 Economic Growth Slows Marginally to 3.9%
Ghana’s economic growth for 2015 went down marginally compared to 2014, with figures from the Ghana Statistical Service Wednesday showing growth, including oil, reducing marginally to 3.9 percent from 4 percent in 2014. According to the GDP estimates released by the Ghana Statistical Service, the decline was influenced by a slowdown in the agricultural sector from 4.6 percent in 2014 to 2.4 percent in 2015. This was as a result of a reduction in cocoa production for last year. Despite this challenge, other sectors, like services witnessed a significant growth with almost 6 percent growth. The GDP estimates also show that the services sectors currently commands that biggest share of the economy, accounting for about almost 50 percent, followed by  agriculture with 28 percent and Industry. However, when the energy crises was at its peak  economic growth went up by almost 5 percent, compared to the 4.5 percent in the same quarter for 2014. Meanwhile Deputy Government Statistician, Baah Wadie, says things could have been better if the energy crises had not set in …

 Peasant Farmers Laud Government Fertilizer and Seed Subsidy Programme
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) says government’s Fertilizer and Seed Subsidy Programme (FSP) is a useful policy to increase agric production and ensure food security. In a position paper position paper presented to the Agric Ministry, PFAG President, Abdul Rahman Mohammed notes the policy would boost economic development and the structural change needed to reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in Ghana. The position paper was released Tuesday after a policy dialogue on the implementation of the FSP. “Multiple challenges and threats posed by climate change and variability, and unstable global markets make it both important and urgent to focus attention on improving efficiency and effectiveness of such input subsidy programmes while exploring ways to reduce reliance on inorganic fertilizers through improved soil fertility management,” the paper said …

Stakeholders Discuss Agriculture Financing
Mr. Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Tuesday said the country's economic growth and structural transformation could be propelled by a thriving agricultural sector. He said an efficient and productive agricultural sector would undeniably enhance Ghana's prospect for an accelerated growth. "In view of the significance of the sector, Government has decided to place greater emphasis on mechanised and commercial agriculture as well as agribusiness and value addition as means of growing the Ghanaian economy and creating employment," he said. In a speech read for him at the Third Annual Ghana Agribusiness Investment Summit in Accra, Mr. Terkper said the country could not make overall progress unless the mass of small-scale food producers achieve significant improvement in their productivity through increased investment and changes in technologies …

Veterinary Service Calls for Collaboration to Fight Bird Flu
The Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has called for relevant stakeholders’ collaboration to combat the spread of bird flu (Avian Influenza) in the country. So far, 102,760 birds had been infected and destroyed in the country since the outbreak of the disease in 2007, which had been reported in Greater Accra, Central, Western, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions. Dr Paul Nomuka Polkuu, a Deputy Director of the Veterinary Services Department (VSD), said at a stakeholders’ meeting in Sekondi that the spread of the viral disease could negatively impact local and global economies and affect international trade. He, therefore, entreated traditional leaders, assembly members, religious bodies and the media to join forces to educate the public on preventive measures to curb its widespread. Dr Polkuu, who is with the Epidemiology Unit of the VSD, said any country that continued to record bird flu among its poultry population risked being banned by …

Stakeholder Institutions Support Ghana’s Agric Sector
Government’s policy to mechanize the country’s agriculture and also enhance private partnership in the sector has received support from a number of stakeholder institutions. Such institutions have exhibited their support and readiness to partner farmers and those in Agric-business to ensure food security. One of such stakeholders is TC Irrigations, which is into modern gravity irrigation mechanization. The CEO, Randy Lee George, shared his vision with Radio Ghana’s George Ankrah on the sidelines of the 3rd USAID-FINGAP Agric-business summit in Accra. He said Ghana has the soil, the personnel and environment but the only thing left is finance and how to irrigate the land for Ghana to become a net exporter of food to Africa and the world at large …

Farmers in Forest Reserved Areas Introduced to Additional Source of Income
Farmers in forest reserve areas are being introduced to tree farming as an additional livelihood venture under a project by the Forestry Commission. Nearly 150 farmers in three districts of the Ashanti Region have been earmarked to benefit from a 258, 000 euro grant from the Food and Business Applied Research Fund of the Netherlands. Beneficiaries will cultivate African black pepper and grains of paradise as well as undertake bee keeping in their forest plantations as part of the three year project which will run until 2019. The Modified Taunga System is a co-management strategy between the Forestry Commission and smallholder farmers to restore degraded forest cover to address timber deficit, among others. Farmers have total control over farm produce under the project. It is also to improve food and income security of farmers who are taking part in reforestation schemes. “One of the things that we have done in the past as Forestry Commission was to involve farmers in plantation establishments to include food crops in the cultivation but what we …

Reports/Articles
Explaining the Performance of Contract Farming in Ghana: The Role of Self-Efficacy and Social Capital
D Wuepper, J Sauer - Food Policy, 2016
Self-efficacy is the belief of an individual to have the ability to be successful in a given domain. Social capital is the economic value of a person’s relationships. In the context of this study, the former is the belief of a farmer to be able to improve her income with contract farming, which increases her actual ability, and the latter is how much her social support has this effect. We surveyed 400 smallholder pineapple farmers and find that both self-efficacy and social capital are decisive for their successful integration into contract farming. To identify causal effects, we use two instruments, which are also of interest on their own: During Ghana’s colonial period, the British established cocoa cooperatives, which differed in their performance as a function of biogeographic factors and thus persistently shaped the self-efficacy of the farmers. Roughly at the same time, Christian missionaries established missionary schools, which impacted the traditional societies so that social capital decreased …

Factors Responsible For Post-Harvest Losses And Their Effects On Rice Producing Farmers: A Case Study Of Afife And Aveyime Rice Projects in The Volta Region Of Ghana
A Taiwo, A Bart-Plange - 2016
Agriculture plays a key role in the overall economic performance of Ghana in terms of its contribution to GDP. The sector also plays a very significant role in the food security enhancement, poverty alleviation and employment generation efforts of the Nation. However, in more recent years, there has been a remarkable decrease in the contribution of agriculture to the gross domestic products (GDP). One of the most prominent crops that contribute greatly to the country’s GDP is rice. This paper discusses the factors responsible for post-harvest losses in rice production in Ghana using the Afife Irrigation Project located in Ketu-North and Avevime Rice Project located in North Tongu Districts of the Volta Region of Ghana as case studies. First, the socio-demographic characteristics of the farmers and the adopted rice postharvest technology were examined. The causes of postharvest losses in the rice value chain and their effects on the farmers’ income as well as possible solutions for ameliorating the losses are then explained. It is finally argued that only an integrated …

The Effect of Credit Constraints on Crop Yield: Evidence from Soybean Farmers in Northern Region of Ghana
IGK Ansah, J Toatobah, SA Donkoh - Ghana Journal of Science, Technology and …, 2016
Many farmers request for production credit to improve farm productivity, but are often denied by financial institutions. The rational questions to ask are: What factors characterize farmers who get denied of production credits? Does credit constraint lead to lower yield? This study aims to answer these important but often overlooked questions. A multistage sampling technique was used to select a cross-section of soybean farmers who applied for production credit in the Yendi Municipality and Saboba district of the Northern region of Ghana. A binary probit model is used to examine farmers who get denied of production credit. Correcting for sample selection bias, a propensity score matching is used to examine the effect of credit denial on crop yield. Results are very conclusive, and we find that farmers who are often denied access to production credit significantly lack prior training on their enterprises. In addition to that, farmers who are not members of FBOs, have their own buyers for their produce, have low experience, have no formal education, make no savings from their farm activities and are without access to credit information are more likely to be refused credit when …

Adoption of Dry Season Vegetable Farming and its Effects on Income at Golinga and Botanga Irrigation Sites, Northern Ghana
SA Donkoh, S Kudadze, W Adzawla, IGK Ansah - Ghana Journal of Science, …, 2016
The study examined the factors influencing the adoption of dry season vegetable farming and its effect on income in the Golinga and Bontanga irrigation sites in the Northern Region of Ghana. It involved 240 farmers selected through multi stage sampling procedure and the data analyzed using a switching regression and treatment effect models that corrected for sample selection bias. Farmers who had higher probability of going into dry season vegetable production were the younger farmers, farmers who had been cultivating vegetables for several years, farmers who had been in farmer groups for several years, farmers who had more contacts with extension officers and farmers who had accessed credit. While more labour, seed, fertilizer and insecticides were needed to increase income under irrigation farming, more labour and fertilizer as well as greater farm size were required to raise rain fed crop value. From the treatment effect model, dry season farming was found to have a positive effect on crop value. Other significant variables were farm size, seed, labour and insecticides. The study recommends that credit facilities should be made more available and accessible to the vegetable farmers to enhance …

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