Business News of 2014-02-24

Comment: Cassava, as source of poverty alleviation

“The real concern of inadequate market access and value addition for the cassava value chain has been generally acknowledged in the ministry of food and Agriculture sector development policy as a bane to the rapid growth and development of the agriculture sector in Ghana” declared Minister of Food and Agriculture Mr Kofi Humado, in Winneba.
“It is envisaged that the immediate target beneficiaries will be about 2000 small holder farmers, processors, marketers and 90 field agricultural extension agents who will be trained as farmer facilitators to support the project with emphases on women and youth”, the minister added.
The project aligns with the key objectives for the enhancement of cassava productivity under the current “Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) which is the implementing tool of the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II)”.
In Ghana, cassava is one of the priority staple crops which contributes 22 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) with an annual production above 10 million metric tonnes in the last decade.
Production and post-harvest processing of cassava contributes significantly to incomes and rural livelihoods for both men and women representing around one fifth of Ghana's agricultural GDP.
Agriculture employs about 58% of the economically active population, contributing 40% of the GDP and 52.8% of export earnings. The sector also contributes to providing food and raw materials to meet the growing demand of the economy and plays a very crucial role in controlling inflation.
Agricultural policies give particular attention to the development of the cassava sector and the intensification of industrial processing to increase the value addition for cassava. This new Ghana/FAO joint initiative on cassava value chain aims at contributing to the Ghana Sheared Growth Development Authority (GSGDA's) thematic areas of “Accelerated agricultural modernisation and natural resource management” and 'Mainstreaming decent employment issues into all levels of the development planning process”.
The two partners also signed two other TCP projects, namely, 'Technical Assistance for the Strengthening of the Food System of Quinoa in Ghana' and 'Support in Reviewing Animal Health and Production Legislation in Ghana'.