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General News Sun, 25 Jul 2010

Ghana to host Linking Farmers to Markets project

Bolgatanga, July 25, GNA - A new Agriculture project dubbed: "Linking Farmers to Markets (FTM)," is being implemented in Ghana to help address marketing problems confronting farmers after harvesting their crops.

The three-year project is being implemented by the International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC), with funding from Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The project is expected to link approximately 50,000 smallholder farmers cultivating maize, rice, sorghum and soybeans in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to develop commercial relationship with structural markets such as industrial processors, Ghana School Feeding Programme, World Food Programme, local entrepreneurs and processors as well as urban consumers within the southern sector.

Addressing participants at a workshop in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, the IFDC Representative in Ghana, Dr Kofi Debrah said the project is aimed at assisting smallholder farmers of staple crops to gain easy access to markets and earn higher incomes.

The FTM project, he explained, would among other things develop partnerships for effective establishment of a long-lasting farmer to market linkages.

Dr Debrah said whilst the North would become the sources of supply, the South and neighbouring countries would be the main markets and destinations.

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He said the project would form alliances with partners to build farmers' organisational management, productivity and entrepreneurial skills of smallholder farmers.

Small and Medium Enterprises engaged in commercial buying and processing like Savannah Farmers Marketing Company, private rice millers, wholesalers, single mothers' rice processors among other groups would be trained and equipped to facilitate their effective operations.

He indicated that during the outreach phase, FTM and its partners would identify and create data bases for all participating farmers, farmer associations, aggregators, small scale processors, industrial and institutional buyers.

The database and profiles would be loaded onto "esoko" electronic platform to link and manage suppliers, buyers, transporters and others to improve efficiency in the value chain.

In addition, the electronic platform would be promoted to link actors, disseminate crop advisors and provide market intelligence along the value chain.

He said IFDC would see to the commitment of buyers, processors and final markets and support smallholder farmers and farmer associations to meet the market requirements by facilitating the transfer of management and technology packages, input supply and access to funds and credits.

Source: GNA
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