Programme to boost agribusiness around Afadjato-Dayi underway

The enclave represents the fertile valley and plains along the Afadjato Mountain and the River Dayi in the vicinities of Vakpo, Kpando, Gbefi, Jordan and environs.

Agri-Impact Consult, a private Agri-business Services Provider, is executing the programme with funding from Skills Development Fund (SDF), an agency set up to build the competence of skilled workers.

Dan Acquaye, Executive Director of Agri-Impact, told journalist on Wednesday that the main component of the programme is taking about 200 farmers through four graduated modules of training sessions to enable them tackle challenges in the production chain.

The training sessions are taking place at the African Development Bank funded two million dollars Pack-House at Vakpo-New Adomi, in the Volta Region.

The modules are farming as a business, pre-production issues, propagation, transplanting, and importance of quality seeds.

The rest include fumigation, water supply, trellising, plant-care, harvesting techniques, post harvest and marketing.

Mr Acquaye said the sessions would introduce the farmers to the Intensive Production Technology, which is less expensive than the greenhouse farming, but with appreciable far higher yields.

He said under the Intensive Production Technology plant density was normally at the optimum.

Mr Acquaye listed tomatoes, sweet pepper, cucumber, lettuce and melons, as target crops, under the scheme.

He said research indicated that market for horticultural crops, vegetables and fruits in the Accra-Tema area alone, was 402 million dollars per annum.

Mr Acquaye expressed regret that despite the yawning market, Ghana had been ranked second largest importer of tomato paste and puree in the world.

He said Ghana also imports 60 million dollars of onion yearly from the sub-region and Holland as well as sweet pepper and herbs from countries in the sub-region.

Mr Acquaye observed that fruit and vegetable prices in Ghana often swing along with the bumper and lean periods with price variations as high 150 per cent for fruits and 1000 per cent for vegetables.

He observed that the opportunity for export trade in vegetables within the sub-region is being hampered by harassment along the routes and delays at the ports.

Mr Acquaye said in one particular case an exporter to Nigeria who took two weeks to offload at the ports lost 70 per cent of the goods.

He said the pack-house is a huge investment, which is being grossly underutilised.

Mr Acquaye said there is therefore the need for an integrative agricultural production link up with the services available at the pack house to open and sustain the envisaged all-year round Afadjato-Dayi to Accra-Tema vegetable market highway.

Currently many vegetable farmers in the area crop only okro and garden eggs.

GNA

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