50,000 farmers to benefit from US$4m maize project
The USAID has rolled out a US$4million four-year project dubbed “Ghana Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Programme” (GAMSAP), aimed at increasing adoption of hybrid maize seed and related good agronomic practices to boost productivity and profitability among farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region.
About fifty thousand farmers are targetted under the programme and they will benefit from improved input supply chains; enhanced farmer access to improved technology; better-quality post-harvest handling practices; and increased market linkages with end buyers, such as poultry farmers.
The programme, spanning from 2014 to 2018 and being implemented by ACDIVOCA as part of the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) programme, has so far supported three thousand farmers and is expected to assist between seven and ten thousand farmers by the end of 2015.
According to Mr. David Darkoh, in charge of Business Services, USAID ADVANCE, GAMSAP have since September last year helped participating farmers to raise yields from 2 tonnes/hectare to an average of six to seven tonnes/ha.
He said it has also increased awareness about the inter-dependence of players in the agricultural value-chain and the need for their collaboration through investments in trusted and win-win business relationships.
Mr. Darkoh was speaking during a Farmers’ Field Day at Kobedi in the Sunyani West district, which brought in attendance smallholder maize farmers, poultry farmers, agronomists, agricultural value-chain financing institutions, food/feed processors and other key stakeholders in the maize industry.
Some farmers who shared their testimonies about the cultivation of pioneer hybrid 30Y87 maize, a product of GAMSAP, said the seed is drought-tolerant, resistant to windstorms, and produces high quality yield.
Nsoatre-based farmer and aggregator Johnson Kyere stated that his three-acre farm is one of the few on uplands in the area that survived the recent mid-season drought; while Kusi Baffour on his part said thanks to pioneer hybrid 30Y87 maize, he has harvested twice in the last six months and would harvest the third crop in August 2015 and grow a minor season in that same month.
This, he noted, will make him one of the few smallholder farmers in Brong Ahafo to successfully cultivate four maize crops within a year without irrigation.
Mr. Victor Oppong Agyei, National Chairman of Poultry Farmers Association, pledged the commitment of poultry farmers to trade with the maize farmers, and urged them to embrace improved seed and best agricultural practices so as to increase their yield.
He said poultry farmers are making strides in increasing local production, and their pursuit must be in consonance with equally increased and affordable maize production. This will help to make local poultry products less expensive in order to discourage the excessive imports, he added.