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.

Scientist Calls for Policy on Management of Phosphorous to Avoid Depletion of the Resource
A former Director of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Professor Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, has underscored the need for a conscious national policy aimed at sustainable management of the country’s phosphorous resource in order to avoid its depletion. Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said this when he delivered the 2016 annual inaugural lecture organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) on the topic: “Peak phosphorous: What it means for Ghana’s agricultural productivity and food security” in Accra yesterday. He warned that the global dwindling situation of phosphorus could have a negative impact on the country’s agricultural productivity. He said phosphorus was a key element in food production but was a non-renewable resource, adding that projections had been made that the resource was expected to dwindle substantially.

ADRA President Urges Ghana to Invest Hugely In Education & Agriculture
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Ghana works with communities in poverty and distress to create just and positive change. ADRA whose philanthropic works cover education, health, food and security, micro finance and economic security is currently operating from 139 countries and impacting lives of about 20 million people worldwide. The President of Adventist Development and Relief Agency International Mr. Jonathan Duffey gave this advice in an interview with NewsGhana when he touched down in Ghana to know about the Agency’s project in the country. According to the Country Director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency Ghana Dr. William Y. K. Brown, ADRA Ghana emerged in 1985 from a successful emergency relief program implemented by Seventh-day Adventist Welfare Services (SAWS) in 1983 in response to a situation of acute food shortage in Ghana.

 Sorghum farmers Get Equipment for Healthy Grains
Concern Universal Ghana, a United Kingdom International Development Charity, has donated some post-harvest farm equipment to 30 famers’ groups and off-takers in the Upper West and Upper East Regions. The equipment, valued at about GH¢140,000.00, include five multi-crop threshers, weighing scales, 42 tarpaulins and 150 wooden pallets. With funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the charity body acquired the machinery to assist farmers to improve the quality of grains to attract buyers and consumers to enhance their incomes, while promoting food security. Presenting the equipment at a ceremony, in Wa, Madam Antoinette Addo, the Project Manager for the Sorghum Value Chain Project, said the project was a multi-stakeholder one, which began in January 2014. It aims at developing resilient livelihoods for small-holder sorghum farmers.

Ghana must Take Agriculture more Serious – Ambassador
The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ambassador Ami Mehl, has said Ghana cannot continue to do agriculture on a small scale and expect rapid socio-economic growth. The way forward for Ghana, he said, was a large-scale agriculture which, employed the right technology to ensure that there was enough produce to utilise and export. Ambassador Mehl gave the advice during a visit to the Building Business on Values, Integrity and Dignity (BBOVID) Project, a model agricultural enterprise, in Mpohor in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region. The Ambassador, however, said, "The BBOVID example is a brilliant idea of how to use small-scale methods to do big things in the agriculture sector". He, therefore, urged the decision makers to make the necessary investments in the sector to maximise the benefits.

ADB Powering Ghana’s Fishing Industry
The Ghanaian fishing sector plays an important role contributing significantly to national economic development objectives related to employment, livelihood support, poverty reduction, food security, foreign exchange earnings and resource sustainability. Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has been at the forefront of enhancing fish production in the country by providing support to players in the aquaculture sector and those engaged in the more traditional forms of marine and inland fishing. Farmers engaged in aquaculture have been supported to acquire/construct capital assets such as cages, ponds, cold storage facilities, nursery and laboratories, hatcheries, etc. Operators in the aquaculture sub-sector have also been advanced working capital facilities mostly to purchase feed, feed ingredients and meet other working capital needs.

25 Women from Two Regions Upgrade Skills
Twenty-five women who are into farming, soap making, pottery and basket weaving, from the Upper East and West regions, have been equipped with skills to enable them to market their products more effectively both in Ghana and in neighbouring Burkina Faso. The women, some of whom are living in communities close to Burkina Faso, have now acquired skills in customer relations, packaging, rebranding, redesigning and identifying marketing centres. The initiative was under a project dubbed ‘Women's Leadership for Economic Empowerment and Food Security in Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia' (EMPOWER)’. It is being supported by Global Affairs, Canada, which aims at contributing to the reduction of poverty in Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia. The project is aimed at promoting leadership of rural women and their organisations to address food security and sustainable economic livelihood issues, which are critical and interlocking issues that affect their lives.

ABL Whip up Support for Ghanaian Farmers
Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) has donated GH₵ 40, 000 towards the 32nd National Farmers Day celebration in furtherance of its commitment to the growth and development of the agricultural sector. ABL also gave out 220 assorted cases of its products valued at GH₵ 6,440. Additionally, three communities in the Volta, Upper East and Western Regions would each be provided with a mechanised solar powered borehole and a furrow irrigation system at a total cost of GH₵ 308,000. This brings ABL’s total sponsorship for the 2016 Farmers Day celebration to GH₵ 354,440. Corporate and Legal Affairs Director of ABL, Ms. Adjoba Kyiamah, made the presentation at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Ms. Kyiamah spoke about the company’s continuous desire to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers.

Reports/Articles
The Value of Irrigation Water Reservoirs for Tomato Production in the Upper East Region of Ghana
MV Mdemu - The Journal of Building and Land Development, 2016
Improving crop water productivity is one among the strategies for addressing water scarcity in SubSaharan African countries. However, existing studies on water productivity rarely consider other factors of production such a labour and non-water inputs resulting to over estimation of the productivity of water. This study was conducted to assess the value of irrigation water for tomato production at Tono and Dorongo schemes. A residual imputation method was used to determine the value of irrigation water for tomato production. Semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 60 irrigator’s households from each of the study sites to collect data on farm inputs (capital, labour and non-water inputs), crop yield and market price for dry season irrigated tomato. The agricultural asset price index (API) of five years (2000-2005) was constructed and used to estimate farmer’s capital using the 2000 as base year. Labour and cost of labour was estimated using reported work hours and hired labour charge in the study area.

Discriminant Analysis of Farmers Adoption of Improved Maize Varieties in Wa Municipality, Upper West Region of Ghana
A Alhassan, H Salifu, AO Adebanji - SpringerPlus, 2016
This study employed the quadratic classification function analysis to examine the influence of farmer’s socio-demographic and varietal characteristics of maize on adoption of improved maize varieties (IMVs) in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. The results showed that, farm labour, information availability about the variety, weed resistance, low yielding variety, early maturity and water stress resistance are the major discriminating variables in classifying farmers in the Municipality. The study however revealed that maize experience, low yield, information availability and cost of variety were the most influential discriminating variables between adopters and non-adopters of IMVs. The study recommended the need to improve on the level of farmers’ education, ensure steady access to extension services and improvement in varietal characteristics identified in the study.

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