KITA to boosts smallholder farmers’ capacity in Agro value addition

Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA

Effiduase (Ash), October 10, 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 for improved their incomes.

Mr Samuel Owusu Takyi, the Executive Director
of KITA who gave the hint at an ordinary meeting of the Asante Effiduase
Farmers’ Co-operative Union, at Effiduase, 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
eight members, in a bid to extend the knowledge, skills and practical
experience, thus, in all 180 of these farmers, predominantly into cocoa production,
cassava, maize and vegetables farming, would have benefited from the programme.

The training, would also cover alternative
livelihood support programmes such as bee-keeping, soap and yoghurt production,
among other food processing techniques.

Mr Takyi said the goal was to help boost the
capacities and incomes as well as optimizing the production levels of these
small holder farmers who formed the majority in the Country’s agricultural
industry but were crippled by low capitals, lacked 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 maintained that
agriculture’s strong pivotal role in the economy of the state could 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 added.

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 urged various non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) 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.


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