Business News of Saturday, 8 July 2017
Tikola Limited, a private commercial company in collaboration with Ghana veg under its Sustainable Agricultural Project, has trained 300 farmers in the Western Region, to go into sustainable organic vegetables farming to increase income. The group has also trained 15,000 farmers nationwide.
Mr Lorenzo Esmeralda, the Development Manager of Tikola Ltd in charge of West Africa, made this known when he addressed farmers at a Fruit and Vegetables Fair at the Ankobra in the Nzema-East Municipality of the Western Region.
He said the move formed part of measures to train farmers to adopt sound farming practices to produce good quality vegetables with improved hybrid seeds to become more competitive on the global market.
The fair displayed samples of vegetables and fruits such as papaya, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onion and okro.
Mr Lorenzo said since its inception in Africa five years ago, Tikola Ltd remained the sole distributor of East-West International seeds with a focus on innovative services for improved yields to boost the income of farmers.
He said his outfit trained farmers to adopt modern technology such as nursing of seedlings and plastic mulching without the usage of pesticides.
Mr Lorenzo said Tikola Ltd had four model farms in the Region located at Ankobra, Ankyernyin, Tarkwa and the Ghana Armed Forces in Takoradi.
Mr Hanson Arthur, the Fund Manager and Monitoring Expert of Ghana Veg, observed that the vegetable sector had not received the attention of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture hence had no comparative advantage on the international market.
He said the vegetable sector must be driven by innovation through safe vegetable production without the use of agro-chemicals and contaminated water, hence the need to adopt row planting and good seedlings, which would inure to inclusive economic growth.
Mr Arthur urged the government to create an enabling environment and the awareness on planting hybrid seeds to attract the youth into the vegetable sector to achieve safe production, food security and food sufficiency.
He said the European Union market had banned the exportation of vegetables into Europe since 2014/2015, due to the poor conditions under which vegetables were grown in Ghana. This, he, said has had a drastic impact on the Gross Domestic Product.
Mr Arthur commended Tikola Ltd for its agronomic practices leading to powerful nutrients, which were good for health and prolong life.
Mr Zakari Musah an Agronomist and Trainer of Production with Tikola Ltd said in 2011, his outfit noticed that vegetable production in the Region was very low hence the adoption of four module farms to train farmers to improve crop yield.
He said most of the farmers had responded positively and were turning things round to improve their standard of living.
Mr Felix Blay, the Municipal Director of Agriculture, commended Ankobra Beach Resort and Tikola Ltd for the partnership to boost the capacity of farmers and helping extension officers to execute their core mandate. He said farmers needed entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector to assist them market their produce.
Mr Blay expressed worry that those who bought crops from farmers for export exploited them, adding that “the share of profits should flow from the farmers”.
Professor Augustus Addai, a former Chief Research Officer with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, who chaired the function, said agriculture was one of the focus of the partnership to better the living conditions of farmers.
Mr Kor Ritsema, the Managing Director of Tikola Ltd, presented certificates, T-Shirts, a tray of tomatoes seedlings and two knapsack sprayers each, to the farmers for having undergone the training.