Business News of 2014-04-25

USAID prepare farmers for this year's farming season

Tamale, April 25, The United State Agency for International Development (USAID), is preparing farmers from the three Northern Regions for this year's farming season, through the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE Two) Project.

To this end, over 500 participants in the agricultural sector, including farmers and farmer-based organizations, met in Tamale on Thursday to discuss perennial farming related issues and preparations, to usher in the farming season with the aim of reducing post harvest losses to increase productivity.

USAID is investing 22 million dollars into various agricultural intervention projects in the three northern regions to scale up the sector and improve competitiveness of maize, rice and soyabean value chains to achieve food security.

The ADVANCE project supports USAID/Ghana’s Feed the Future Initiative mandated to reduce poverty and hunger through inclusive agricultural growth and improved nutrition with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) as part of the implementing bodies.

There were various exhibitions at the forum comprising farm implements, farm inputs and certified seeds of different varieties. Mr John Brighenti, Agriculture Officer at the office of Economic Growth of USAID-Ghana, assured the farmers that the USAID was committed in helping smallholder farmers to improve their production and livelihoods.

He urged farmers to join associations to enable them access credits as well as share ideas that would achieve individual and collective interests. Dr Kwasi Ampofo, Country Director of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) indicated that it would review its projects based on what was achieved last year to continue to give farmers opportunities to improve their standards of living.

He urged agro dealers to mobilize and move their farm inputs closer to farming communities to enhance farmer’s access. He indicated that mechanized service providers should prime their tractors to farms and that farmer-based organizations must contact their negotiators for larger preparation services.

Dr. Ampofo stressed the need for micro-finance services to release credits to farmers who have contacted them for loans, noting that since 2011 that AGRA had been supporting the event, it had been beneficial to farmers, and urged farmers who were yet to get prepared for the farming season to fasten their pace.

Chief Abdulai Alhassan, a farmer expressed worry about the delay in releasing government subsidized inputs in good time for each farming season, and appealed to government to release farm inputs in good time this year.

He was not happy about the difficulties farmers go through as a routine ritual to access credit facilities from financial institutions, and urged government to intervene.

Source: GNA
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