The Australian government has announced plans to double the number of agricultural extension officers chosen for capacity building in Australia from 300 to 600.
It would help boost Ghana’s agricultural extension service delivery to farmers for increased and sustainable production.
The gesture is aimed at supporting Ghana to remove gaps in the farming sector towards moving aggressively to achieve year-round food security and sustainable income for farmers.
Ms Joanna Adamson, Australian High commissioner to Ghana announced on Friday during a pre-departure briefing of 20 agricultural extension staff and Farmer-Based Organisation (FBO) leaders heading for Australia for a two week study tour on farm innovations.
“I am very pleased to say that…300 extension staff from across Ghana have already received training, and there are plans for this number to double this year,” Ms Joanna Adamson said.
The study tour aims at strengthening Ghana’s Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services and selected FBOs to improve extension and advisory services to farmers and other participants in the agriculture value chair.
Ms Adamson said the commission was also engaged in building a website and a database to create a central point that can track the contributions of FBOs to the agricultural industry in Ghana and make knowledge management easier.
She advised the officers to start thinking on how best to share their experiences in meaningful ways on their return, to impact significantly on agricultural production.
The capacity building project is intended to improve the delivery of FBO services to farmers and strengthen access to markets and services along the agricultural value chain.
The Ghanaian group will be visiting farmer groups and agriculture specialist across Victoria and South Australia.
The group will see at first-hand, how agricultural extension is delivered in Australia and the roles played by the public and private sectors in delivering extension services.
They will also be exposed to good practice models for setting up and managing economically viable farmer-based organisations and umbrella bodies.
The study tour will present a unique opportunity for specialists from both countries to compare and share common interests and constraints to achieving on farm adoption of framing practices.
While farming households in Ghana struggle to achieve year-round food security and improve farm incomes, Australian farmers produce on average, enough food for themselves and for extra 20 people elsewhere. Agricultural extension has been key to this success.
The study tour takes place from February 17 to 28, 2014 and is part of a two-year Australian supported programme to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.