Ghana Agricultural News Digest – October 5, 2016

 

Below are some current developments on agriculture in Africa:

Media Reports
Government Increases Producer Price of Cocoa
Government has reviewed upwards the producer price for cocoa at a ceremony to commemorate this year's national cocoa day in Tepa in the Ashanti Region. The new price will go for GHS 475.00 per bag, 50 cedis higher than what it was previously sold for. This was announced Saturday, by the Deputy Minister of Finance Ato Forson who is also Chairman of Producer Price Review Committee after a meeting Saturday. Mr. Forson said the new price takes immediate effect. "Last year the average FOB per tonne of cocoa sold was $2900 and this year the average FOB to be sold and in some cases have been sold forward is $2950" he said. On how much a tonne of cocoa will be sold for in Ghana, the minister said the prices have been increased from ¢6800 per tonne to ¢7600 per tonne for the 2016-2017 cocoa season. This amount represents an increase in price of ¢800 per tonne or 11.76% increase. The increase will come as a welcome news for cocoa farmers who have been clamoring for a hike in prices. The minister charged the License buying companies to ensure that the farmers are paid the new price at the point of sale.

Cocoa Farmers not pleased with 12% Increase in Cocoa Price
Some cocoa farmers have expressed disappointment with the 12 percent increase in producer price of cocoa. Deputy Finance Minister Casiel Ato Forson on Saturday, October 1, 2016 announced the new price on the occasion of National Cocoa Day in Tepa in the Ashanti region. The new price will go for GHS 475.00 per bag, 50 cedis higher than what it was previously sold for. The Deputy Finance Minister charged Licensed Buying Companies to ensure that farmers are paid at the time of sale of their produce. But not all cocoa farmers are happy with the percentage increase. Joy News correspondent Mohammed Nurudeen reports that the farmers wanted a percentage increase between 500 and 600 percent. “It was a good news to some, but those that I spoke to were not happy about the percentage increase. “They mentioned that they have to battle with some pests and diseases as well as the fertility of their land,” Nurudeen said.

COCOBOD Woos Youth into Cocoa Growing
Speaking at this year’s International Cocoa Day celebration held in Tepa in the Ahafo-Ano North District, on the theme “Transforming the cocoa sector for economic growth – The role of the youth” was the theme chosen for the event, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has encouraged the youth to venture into cocoa growing to sustain the industry which has over the years kept the national economy going. Dr. Opuni indicated that many of the nation’s farmers were ageing and that, it was important the youth took over from them to help increase the production levels. The day is marked every year to appreciate the cocoa farmer and promote the consumption of cocoa products among the population.

Kosmos Energy Invests US$100,000 in 2 Entrepreneurs …with the Vision and Drive to Improve the Agricultural Sector
Kosmos Energy has announced the winners of the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) AgriTech Challenge, a formal competition that invited young entrepreneurs to use innovation to develop commercial solutions to challenges within agriculture. After nurturing their ideas through research and collaboration, and pitching them to a panel of expert judges, winners of the competition receive US$50,000 in seed funding and technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses. TroTro Tractor and Ghalani were selected from an original field of more than 100 young entrepreneurs from all over Ghana who entered the competition, which began in April with the inaugural AgriTech Exchange, an interactive and informative brainstorming session in which experts in agriculture, business, and technology gathered to define the most pressing challenges facing Ghana’s agriculture sector. In a highly competitive selection process that followed the event, the young entrepreneurs pitched preliminary ideas to a panel of judges drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, academia, and private sector enterprises. Just 44 entrepreneurs were selected to move forward to the second stage of the competition.

Commodity Farmers Launch Inquest into Fertiliser Programmes
The Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Shea-nut Farmer's Association (COCOSHE) has raised concerns over the sale of subsidised fertiliser by farmers, warning that the act could negatively affect government policy on fertiliser programmes. Alhaji Alhassan Bukari, National Chief Farmer of COCOSHE, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 7th National Food and Agriculture Show (FAGRO) 2016 in Accra, said the Association has noted that some farmers in the country are cashing in on fertilisers distributed to them at no free, or at a subsidised price. “We are investigating it and I want to urge all stakeholders, especially regional and district representatives to ensure that this bad act is brought to an end,” he stated. Alhaji Bukari said the sale of fertilisers- which he alleged is illegal- by farmers defeats government efforts at making fertiliser available to farmers across the country. He said if unaddressed, the practice could affect the sector, adding: “why should you sell fertiliser distributed to you free of charge?

USAID Redoubles Efforts to Strengthen Institutions in the North
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission Director Andrew Karas traveled to northern Ghana September 14-18, 2016, to visit projects that work to advance USAID’s goals to improve agricultural governance, increase educational outcomes, and strengthen access to health services. While in the north, Karas met with the Northern Regional Minister and the Upper East Regional Peace Council. Additionally, Karas met with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to discuss collaboration efforts to improve development outcomes in the SADA zone. During Karas’ visit, USAID, along with the government and a consortium of nonprofits launched the Northern Ghana Governance Activity on September 15. The aim of the project, through Feed the Future—the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative—is to promote and enhance responsive governance for improved agricultural development in Ghana and support local Ghanaian institutions. At the launch, Karas remarked, “This project exemplifies the ideals of USAID. It will increase the participation of all community members, especially women in agricultural governance. It is partnering deeply and across sectors to maximize impact.”

USAID launches Northern Ghana Governance Activity
The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ghana government and a consortium of nonprofit organisations have launched the Northern Ghana Governance Activity, a press release from the US Embassy in Accra copied to ghanabusinessnews.com has said. The project, launched on September 15, 2016, according to the release aims, to promote and enhance responsive governance for improved agricultural development in Ghana and support local Ghanaian institutions, and it is through Feed the Future - the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Speaking at the launch, Ghana Mission Director of USAID, Andrew Karas said, “This project exemplifies the ideals of USAID. It will increase the participation of all community members, especially women in agricultural governance. It is partnering deeply and across sectors to maximize impact.”

Tilapia, Cashew Draw Vietnamese Investors
Vietnamese investors, currently on a one-week working visit to Ghana, are seeking to establish joint ventures with Ghanaian partners in the production of tilapia, cashew and rice. At a Ghana-Vietnam Business Forum held in Accra, on Tuesday, Dao Manh Duc, who is the second Head of Trade, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Nigeria, said the team is looking for opportunities in production, processing, and marketing of the said products. The visit, facilitated by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ghana-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was initiated for both parties to strengthen the existing trade relations. In 2015, Ghana imported about US$241million worth of goods from the South East Asian country. The major imported items included rice, garment products, iron and steel, fishing net, sea foods, tobacco, electronics, toothpaste, and computer and electronics. About US$185million worth of rice; US$4.9million worth of computer and electronics; and US$2million worth of toothpaste were imported from the Island-nation into Ghana in 2015.

Agric Development Remains Africa’s Greatest Need and Opportunity
Over the last decade, African countries have laid the foundation for a renaissance in Africa’s agriculture, one powered by enormous progress evident in farmers who are gaining more options in the seeds they plant, in the fertiliser they use, and in the markets available to purchase their produce. Agribusinesses are growing through African SME’s from seeds to markets to value addition. Notwithstanding the fact that Africa’s agricultural transformation is a long and complicated process, a vibrant agriculture and food sector is a robust foundation for broad-based, inclusive economic growth and development that can create multiplier effects through the entire economy.

Reports/Articles
Smallholder Maize Farmers’ Food Consumption Expenditures in Ghana: The Mediating Role of Commercialization
B. Asante1, Y. B. Osei-Asare2 and J. K. M. Kuwornu3 - AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 8, No. 3
This paper examines the effect of smallholder maize farmers’ commercialization on their household food consumption expenditures in Ghana using data from the Ghana Living Standard Survey Round Five (GLSS5). The results indicate that the intensity of smallholder maize commercialization is generally low and that better output price, quantity of maize produced, farm size, type of market or point of sale, access to mobile phone network coverage, proportion of crops given to landlord, instant payment for maize sold, are inter alia key incentive variables that influence the intensity of maize commercialization. The study also revealed that intensity of maize commercialization positively influenced food consumption expenditures. Increases in the sale of maize results in increases in purchases of food items needed to address household food security needs. These findings demonstrate the urgent need to strengthen smallholder market integration initiatives, encourage market information delivery systems, and establish more retail outlets with improved market facilities in order to promote production and trade in high value cereals such as maize in Ghana.

Mosquito Larvae Occurrence and Habitat Characterization on Urban Wastewater Irrigated Vegetable Farms in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana
B Danso Owusu – 2016 KWAME NKRUMAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, KUMASI COLLEGE OF SCIENCE DEPARTMENT OF THEORETICAL AND APPLIED BIOLOGY
The risk of mosquito borne disease transmission is dependent on water-driven ecological regimes, such as the presence and persistence of favorable breeding habitats for the development of immature mosquitoes, which definitely influences vector competence. Wastewater irrigated farming systems provide food for more than 10% of the world’s population, but also tend to create hotspots for the breeding of mosquito vectors, which could lead to malaria transmission. This study investigated the occurrences and habitat characterization of mosquito larvae on urban wastewater irrigated vegetable farms in the Kumasi metropolis. Mosquito larvae were collected weekly from different sources of irrigation water and other pools from vegetable farms in the city of Kumasi in both the wet and dry seasons. At the same time, triplicate water samples were collected for microbiological and physicochemical analysis using standard methods. The collected larvae were microscopically identified using morphological keys. Overall, 9,823 mosquito larvae were collected during the eight months study period and species identified were Anopheles, Culex and Aedes. Of these, Culex species were most abundant (57.3%), followed by Anopheles species (30.5%) and the Aedes species were the least abundant (12%). A total of 139 breeding habitats, composed of ponds, streams and furrows (including foot prints and storm drains), were observed throughout the study. Furrows were the most frequent (55.4%), followed by ponds (41%) and the streams were the least frequent (3.6%). Furrows had the highest larval densities (56.41%), followed by ponds (39.5%) and the streams had the least (4%). Furrows and streams had high species evenness, 0.614 and 0.639 respectively, whereas ponds had low …

Constraints to Growth of Micro and Small-scale Enterprises in Ghana: A Case of Street Food Enterprises
J Osei-Mensah, K Ohene-Yankyera, R Aidoo - Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics…2016
The aim of the paper was to identify the factors that constrain growth of street food enterprises in Ghana. The study achieved this by using panel data from two surveys to estimate the effect of constraints that are self-reported by street food vendors from Kumasi and Tamale metropolises of Ghana on growth of their businesses. Results of the study found inadequate managerial skills and financial constraints to negatively affect the gross margin ratio between the baseline and follow-up periods. In addition, vendors who reported complex regulatory and banking procedure as a constraint experienced a decrease in the rate of growth of their businesses with respect to average daily sales per person. The study recommends that policy interventions aimed at improving the street food sector should aim at addressing managerial constraints or financial constraints or both. Specific policies to address these constraints are presented.

Food Security and the Sustainable Development Goals
J Brooks - OECD Insights, 2016
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food. SDG 2 focuses explicitly on food by seeking to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, but multiple other goals relate to challenges in the food system. SDG 1 focuses on poverty reduction, where agriculture and food has a key role to play. Sustainable agriculture plays a central role in achieving SDG 6 on water, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, SDG 13 on climate change adaptation and mitigation and SDG 15 on land use and ecosystems. Sustainable management of fisheries also features prominently in SDG 14 on marine resource and oceans. This chapter summarises the main policy leverages to achieve sustainable and secure food systems in line with these goals.

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