Agriterra has engaged stakeholders on Agricultural Cooperative Landscape Study to validate a data collection tool to map out all agricultural cooperatives in Ghana in order to constitute a digitalized database system for the Ghana Agricultural cooperative landscape.
The programme with the theme: Stakeholder Dialogue in preparation for the Ghana Agricultural Cooperation Landscape Study, converged stakeholders from academia, financial institutions, government ministries, and agencies, farmers’ base organizations, etc. were to share ideas, and make inputs on a scoping tool for data collection proposed by Agriterra Ghana and to set KPIs on how to categorize the mapped cooperatives and farmer organizations.
The Country Representative for Agriterra Ghana, Madam Habiba Nyarko Agyemang said, the dialogue was to get inputs from the major stakeholders in the Ghanaian cooperative sector for a landscape study and to share ideas on acceptable criteria for categorization of the identified segments existing among farmer cooperatives in Ghana in order to generate a Professional Digitalized DataBase.
According to the Country Rep, the scattered information on farmer groups in Ghana hinder Farmer Base Organizations and farmer cooperatives from getting the right development and business opportunities. “It is very difficult to get complete and consolidated information on cooperatives in Ghana. The existing farmer groups are not digitalized and information is scattered. Therefore, it becomes difficult to develop the right support structures for developing investable professional agricultural cooperatives.” she said.
“Having a professional digitalized database for Farmer Cooperatives in the agricultural sector will help link cooperatives to finance, inputs and markets based on detailed overviews of cooperatives and portfolios of the cooperatives”, she added. She acknowledged the stakeholders for their time and for their great inputs which made the dialogue successful.
Speaking to the stakeholders, Professor Irene Susana Egyir of the University of Ghana said she is delighted to be part of the programme to see the cooperatives working again in the near future.
“I am very happy to be part of this programme and this is what we promote, cooperatives as a business and always making sure its yields its results by venturing into out-growers schemes, farmer contracts, and the likes,” Prof said.
She thanked Agriterra for such a wonderful initiative to assist the farmers to have professionalized digital data-based cooperatives and the opportunity help to revamp the Department of Cooperatives, Ghana.
Mr. William Dale, the Deputy registrar of Cooperatives at the Department of Cooperative said as a regulatory body responsible for regulating the cooperatives, the department would support Agriterra with every piece of information needed to make its work successfully.
“We would help Agriterra and support them with the information that we have because our mandate is to assist the individual members of this society to better their livelihoods, therefore, anything that would promote this course as Agriterra is here to do we would give our maximum support,” he mentioned.
He underscored the need to see the agriculture cooperatives not to produce and sell but to add value to their produces as the cocoa industry emanated doing. To him, it would give a comparative advantage to the farmers as Nigeria and other West African Countries are doing.
A representative from Cocoa Cooperative Union described the dialogue as a very significant programme. He said the programme pointed out loopholes in the cooperative system which need to be tackled in order to build vibrant cooperatives to boost the agriculture sector in Ghana.
He opined that the roadmap is a shared responsibility between and among the government, stakeholders, and the farmers. As a farmer, he urged all the farmers to contribute their quota to make Agriterra’s effort successful.
“As farmers, we are supposed to make massive contributions in order to actualize this intervention. We are supposed to offer economic contributions like availing all information for registration, share capital, and pay our dues to receive good service and our needs been addressed in return,” he underlined.
He urged Agriterra and Stakeholders to educate the farmers by giving them prior notice before registration. According to him, that would inform the farmers’ decision to actively partake in the exercise.