About 13,000 smallholder farmers in the three regions of northern Ghana are to get technical assistance from a partnership project between Yara Ghana and USAID’s Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) to boost productivity.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded ADVANCE project would offer fertilizer application aid and extension services to the farmers in Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to shore up national crop productivity.
Yara Ghana, a leading fertilizer supplier in the country, said this in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday.
The statement said under the partnership deal, which took off last month, Yara is engaging smallholder farmers of which 40 per cent are women, to learn the right protocol for fertilizer application.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture extension agents would also assist the farmers to adhere to the protocols and get the best out of the fertilizers, it added.
The statement quoted the Commercial Director of Yara Ghana, Mr Sergio Godoy as saying that the partnership was targeted at smallholder farmers to increase yields and ensure increased production of maize and rice.
“We are very committed to smallholder farmers, who we see as central to our business as a leading fertilizer supplier.
“Some of these farmers have concerns that fall within the remit of what we do and as good corporate citizens, not only do we feel obliged to help their cause, but we are also hopeful that through initiatives like this we can change the fortunes of the rural farmer,” he said.
Mr Godoy said the company is supporting the establishment of 130 crop demonstrations that is, 100 maize and 30 rain-fed rice demos, with premium Yara fertilizers in collaboration with the USAID’s ADVANCE Project in northern part of the country during the 2015 production season.
The purpose of the demonstrations, he said, is to train farmers on agronomic techniques, good agricultural practices, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Mr Godoy expressed appreciation for the support rendered by USAID/ADVANCE to give technical assistance to smallholder farmers.
“Our commitment to the farmers is a priority for everyone at Yara, and we intend to partner more institutions so long as it helps our overall goal of seeing the farmer gain access to quality fertilizers and knowledge about right time, right product and right place to apply the correct nutrients on every crop,” he said.
The statement also quoted Adwoa Mensima Sey, Public Relations and Communications Specialist of USAID/ADVANCE as saying that the partnership was part of the project’s strategy to scale up private sector investment to increase agricultural productivity, increase market access and trade, and strengthen local capacity with a focus on the rice, maize, and soy value chains.