Business News of Saturday, 15 February 2020
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has been advised to collaborate with experts to develop a cutting-edge software technology to promote agribusiness under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PfJ)’ and ‘Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) initiatives.
Dr. Eli Gaveh, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), pointed out that such innovative technology was needed to create the requisite platform for the sharing of vital information to enhance production and supply value-chain in the agriculture sector.
“It is necessary for the government to invest in technologies that would provide the drive and impetus for the sharing of information and market intelligence under the PFJ and PERD,” he said.
Dr. Gaveh, speaking to the Ghana News Agency at Brofoyedru, a farming community in the Sekyere-East District of Ashanti Region, on the side lines of a field training for some smallholder farmers, said the application of technology was fast changing the face of agriculture globally and Ghana needs to be aligned with this rapid advancement.
The innovative technologies, are being used extensively to market agro-products and services, address post-harvest losses and to also expose farmers to new ways of doing things, he said.
The training was facilitated by the Denarii Consult, a consultancy firm, in collaboration with the Sekyere-East District Directorate of MoFA, targeting members of the “Brofoyedru Nnoboa Farmers Association”, a farmers’ cooperative association.
It was aimed at sensitising the participants on good farming practices for increased productivity, while improving their incomes and livelihoods.
Dr. Gaveh welcomed the current plans underway to assist farmers with incentives support in terms of planting materials to maximise the production of crops such as maize and rice.
However, there should be corresponding mechanisms in place, especially in the area of adequate irrigation facilities, state-of-the-art harvesting and planting machinery, as well as storage facilities to engender all-year-round production.
“Considering most of the crops produced across the country, we are only able to attain less than fifty percent of the yielding potential. This is mainly due to poor methods of production and lack of technology,” the research scientist noted.
Dr. Gaveh, who is also the Executive Director of the Denarii Consult, a non-profit agribusiness and community development-oriented organisation, bemoaned the high rate of post-harvest losses in the country.
“A chunk of vegetables produced in the country such as tomatoes, pepper and garden eggs go waste after harvest, because we have not invested adequately in post-harvest preservation and value addition,” he observed.
“This situation needs to change, if the country is to tap the full benefits of the huge potential for economic transformation in the agricultural sector,” Dr. Gaveh said.