Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA
Effiduase (Ash), Oct. 11, GNA - The Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA), is making moves to provide training to about 180 small holder farmers in Asante Effiduase, to help boost their capacities in adding value to their farm produce.
Mr Samuel Owusu Takyi, the Executive Director of KITA, said this when speaking at an ordinary meeting of the Asante Effiduase Farmers’ Co-operative Union, at Effiduase.
He said KITA is rolling out an expansive training scheme under which 20 of the co-operative members would be selected for an initial trainer of trainers’ workshop.
He said each of the 20 would in turn train 8 members, in a bid to extend the knowledge, skills and practical experience, thus in all 180 of these farmers, predominantly in cocoa production, cassava, maize and vegetables farming, would have benefited from the programme.
The capacity building training would also cover alternative livelihood support programs such as bee-keeping, soap and yoghurt production, among other food processing techniques.
Mr Takyi said the goal is to help boost the capacities and incomes as well as optimize the production levels of these small holder farmers who form the majority in the country’s agricultural industry but are crippled by low capitals, lack of technology and technical know-how in agricultural production and value chain on the local and competitive global market.
“Majority of these smallholder farmers who produce various agricultural products such as cocoa, rice, maize, fruits, vegetables, among others for the international markets, local processing companies and households, are also seriously challenged with illiteracy, poverty, lack of technical know-how, financial access and the likes, which really hinders productivity, value addition and agribusiness in the Country”, he added.
The Executive Director said agriculture’s strong pivotal role in the economy of the state can only be enhanced to its fullest potential when both the financial and technical capacities of farmers have been prioritized and strengthened.
“These include trainings, extension services, access to credit, capacity building of farmers in the areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and others’’, he said.
Mr Takyi urged government to strengthen various governmental institutions responsible for the wellbeing of farmers in the areas of production, marketing and distribution, processing and enterprising, such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, COCOBOD and others, in order to augment farmers’ efforts.
He also called on various non-governmental organizations and developmental partners to strengthen support to farmers especially those in the rural and poverty-prone areas in order to aid the country’s sustainable development through improved and sustainable agriculture and agribusinesses.
Mr Clement Duku, Chairman of the Farmers’ Co-operative Union, urged government, NGOs and developmental partners to support them in accessing the various inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides, land, labour and cash, to improve and sustain growth, yield and returns.