The Minister of Food and Agriculture announced this when he toured nucleus and outgrower farms GCAP supports in the Accra Plains and the SADA Zone.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture announced this when he toured nucleus and outgrower farms GCAP supports in the Accra Plains and the SADA Zone on September 2-3 and September 27-28 respectively.
Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna listed the six units as mechanisation, with each centre having at least 10 tractors with accessories and spare parts; inputs, where agro-chemicals and improved seeds can be acquired; an advisory outfit to give free extension services such as technical advice to farmers; a training centre to teach farmers how to use the machinery, and keep them abreast with what is happening in other parts of the world;micro-credit to give loans for farming activities, children’s school fees and other immediate needs; and a buy-back unit to create markets for farm produce to prevent post-harvest losses.
Addressing outgrowers at Eden Tree Ltd, a farming enterprise at Dodoekope in the Dangme East District on September 2, Alhaji Limuna said1,600ha of irrigable land will also be attached to each centre for farmers to use when the rains fail. Franchisers will run the centres and make them sustainable.
Cabinet has approved the scheme which will begin with 50 pilot centres, 45 of which will be located in the SADA Zone and five in the rest of the country.
Already the government has taken delivery of 549 out of 1000 tractors it is importing from Brazil, along with accessories, he said.
Alhaji Limuna subsequently visited Abians Agro Enterprise at Asutsuare, which has received US$130,000 in matching grants from GCAP to construct a 2,842-square metre drying floor and complete a 3,000-metric tonne warehouse.
Forty-Thousand US dollars (US$40,000) of the grant went into providing management skills for running the company’s outgrower scheme effectively.
Alhaji Limuna later addressed the managements of some agro-business companies, BRLi, design consultants on the Kpong Irrigation Scheme,and farmers at the Golden Exotics Ltd training centre at Asutsuare in the Asuogyaman District.
He said the government has subsidised different models of tractors including Massey Ferguson, Valtra and New Holland by 50 per cent. He urged smallholders to form co-operatives and apply for some. He said they will be distributed to those who need them most and that nobody will be favoured, or denied a tractor because of their party affiliation.
In all, Alhaji Limuna visited seven agro-business companies in his tour of the plains, five of them on the first day.
They include VegPro Ghana Ltd, Anyako Farms, Sugarland Ltd and GADCO.
In the SADA Zone, he visited Akandem Farms Ltd at Chuchuliga, its warehouse at Sandema both in the Builsa North District and farms of the Integrated Water Management and Agricultural Development Ghana Ltd (IWAD)at Yagaba in the Mamprusi West District.
Akandem Farms Ltd developed 346 of its 1000-acre land and grew maize during the 2015-2016 cropping season. GCAP supported it with a grant of US$250,000 to develop 200ha of the land, construct a 200-mt warehouse, and install a solar-powered borehole.
Its outgrowers said they had seen lots of improvements in their living standard since joining the company.They can now pay their children’s school fees and National Health Insurance contributions, and buy new clothes as well. Their number has grown from 70 to 120.
At IWADwhich GCAP has supported with US$500,000 to develop 400ha of land for the cultivation of maize, the Managing Director, Tom Durang took the minister and his entourage round the company’s pumping station, rice fields, pilot sugar farm, andtree nursery.
Alhaji Limuna then visited the warehouses of the Farmers Training Centre (FTC) at Sumbrungu and Wilphin Enterprise at Kubia, both suburbs of Bolgatanga, and interacted with the companies’ managements and outgrowers.
He encouraged them to give of their best, assuring them of government’s help to increase production and market their produce. GCAP supported the FTC with US$382,063 to construct its 500-mt warehouse and train its smallholders. Wilphin Enterprise was also assisted with US$195,000 to do the same.
The last two enterprises Alhaji Limuna visited were M-Gallant Farms and Kukobila Nasia Farms, both in the Savelugu-Nanton District. He interacted with the outgrowers and encouraged them to continue to work hard,promising the government will assist them with tractors and irrigation facilities, as indicated in the farm service centres initiative, to increase production.
Alhaji Limuna said he was impressed with the farmers’ work and urged them to make good use of the grants to increase production,reduce its cost and alleviate poverty.
He took note of the various challenges facing smallholders,such as high tractor service charges,the lack of shellers and credit,the high-interest rates on credit when it is available, and poor market prices.
He assured them his ministry will do its best to address the problems and make agriculture attractive to the youth.
He appealed to government officials, especially agriculture extension officers, to do their work devoid of partisan politics.