Nucleus farmers in the Savannah Ecological zone have been tasked to improve their farming methods in line with agric business principles.
Zonal Coordinator and Senior Rural Infrastructure Engineer of the Ghana Agriculture Commercial Project (GCAP), Bloomfied C. Attipoe, made the call at a three-day farmers capacity building workshop held in Tamale.
He explained that the workshop sought to build the capacity of the participants on bookkeeping, accounting, finance, quality standards, environmental and social safeguards and marketing. “GCAP wants the farmers it is working with to take farming as a serious business.
This mindset and determination is expected to trickle down to the smallholder farmers as you the nucleus farmers engage with them. When the smallholder farmers start thinking and acting like commercial farmers, the whole nucleus-out grower model will change the face of agriculture. Dealing with out-growers who have a commercial orientation will make our dealings with them a lot easier,” he added.
Bloomfied C. Attipoe urged the participants to impact the knowledge gained on smallholder farmers to adopt best farming techniques that will enhance their operations. “The challenge to you is to learn so that you will in turn become trainers and be the change agents that agriculture needs so badly. As you provide technical advice to out-growers about planting in rows or when to apply fertilizer, remember to teach them also to keep records.” Chairman of the National Farmers and Fishers Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG), Korboe Davies, said the agriculture sector was bedeviled with myriad challenges.
He however believed agriculture remained the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth pole. “It is in fact a common knowledge that agriculture is the main driver of our dear nation.
Regardless of the numerous challenges that are bedeviling this sector especially avoidable post harvest losses, poor farming practices, it still contributes to national GDP, employment and income generation more than any other economic sector.”
Korboe Davies explained the essence of the workshop saying, “In view of the bad farming practices that have saddled agriculture, our association in collaboration with GCAP therefore organizes these three days workshop to educate all of us on improved farming methods.”
“This collaboration between us and GCAP is geared towards building our capacity and enhancing our knowledge on agriculture value chain, post-harvest, total quality standards, agribusiness financing and marketing, mapping of farmlands and social and environmental safety among others.”
“This to a large extent will remedy bad farming practices, post-harvest losses and other troubling agriculture issues,” he anticipated.
Director of Agribusiness at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Nicholas Neequaye, said government was committed to boost the agriculture sector. According to him, government’s input into the agriculture sector had decreased the nation’s wage bill on rice importation.
He commended some of the farmers for producing rice which is equal to the quality of rice imported into the country. Nicholas Neequaye implored the participants to shift from subsistence to commercial agriculture as a means of maximizing their profit margins.
He also tasked the participants to consider the outcome of the workshop as a turning point in their operations. Some of the participants called for seizure on the importation of foreign rice.
The National Farmers and Fishers Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG) spearheaded the workshop in collaboration with the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP).
The workshop brought together over two hundred nucleus farmers in the Savannah Ecological zone.