GCAP Agric Minister tours 5 GCAP projects in Accra Plains

This is in pursuance of his approach to promoting an interactive and open-door policy with all stakeholders in agriculture, especially the smallholder.

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The government is pursuing policies and programmes to make agricultureattractive to the youth, promote sustainable food production, and improve the fortunes of the smallholder,the Minister of Food and Agriculture has said.

Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna was paying a working visit to five projects the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) financesin the Volta and Greater Accra Regions on the first leg of his two-day tour of the Accra Plains.

This is in pursuance of his approach to promoting an interactive and open-door policy with all stakeholders in agriculture, especially the smallholder.

Alhaji Limuna’s visit first took him and his entourage to VegPro Ghana Ltd at Torgorme in the North Tongu District. The farms cultivate baby corn and vegetables for export to Europe.

 

Its Managing Director, Jagdish Patel, said his company has been growing steadily and expanding. The packaging division, for instance, has employed 150 people, majority of them women from the community. The number of outgrowers has also shot up, he said. He was optimistic about the farms’ prospects.

GCAP provided VegPro with US$479,000 from its Matching Grant Scheme to develop 64 hectares of land; build the capacity of 75 outgrowers; carry out an 11-km power extension to its new pumping station, which work is ongoing, and lay a 1.5-km buried transmission pipelines to the existing pumping house. Part of the grant was used to support the procurement of a centre pivot irrigation system for the company’s outgrowers.

Alhaji Limuna interacted briefly with WAPCOS Ltd, the consultants engaged by GCAP to update feasibility studies and do designs for rehabilitating and modernising the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project.

He next visited Anyako Farms Limited,also in Torgorme,which uses two centre pivot irrigation systems it acquired with part of aUS$500,000 grant GCAP provided. GCAP has assisted in providing capacity-building programmes for the farmers, 214 of whom have been trained in the last two months. It has provided technical support in pest control, environmental safety, electricity connection and land development, Mr Richard Nunekpeku, chief farmer of the farms,said.

play The Minister visited Anyako Farms Limited in Torgorme

 

Alhaji Limuna commended the Omankrado of Torgorme, Torgbe Gidi IV, for releasing land for large-scale farming and appealed to other landowners and chiefs to release land for commercial farming so as to create more employment.

He then proceeded to Sugarland Ltd at Kortorko in the Dangme West District, which is into vegetable and fruit production using environdomes. The company’s Chief Executive Officer, MrAsiwome Agbenyega,briefed the minister on the advantages of the technology which include better pest control and a training opportunity for young graduates and interested farmers to learn the green-house technology. GCAP is funding the installation of the environdomes, the training of outgrowers and the construction of a pack house for the farms.

The next stop was at GADCO which is cultivating rice in partnership with the Fievie community in the South Tongu District, under GCAP’s nucleus-outgrower arrangement.It is cultivating 480ha of rice and has many women outgrowers.

And ithas two production components; a fully irrigated 800-ha rice nucleus farm and a 120-ha smallholder one.The outgrowers get a percentage of the net profit after harvest and the company buys their produce, thus offering a ready market.A Fievie community leader testified to earning GHC4000 per hectare in a season. Harvesting was in progress when the minister and his entourage visited.

The last visit was at Eden Tree Limited at Dodoekope in the Dangme East District. Thecompanycultivates a variety of vegetables including watermelon, lettuce, garden-eggs, tomatoes, and carrots.The enterprisewas providedUS$500,000 in GCAP matching grants to develop 110ha for cultivating vegetables, rehabilitate a defunct water reservoir, laterals and a dilapidated 1-km main canal, andbuild the capacity of its outgrowers

At a durbar held in his honour,Alhaji Limuna advised the outgrowers to take advantage of crop diversification options the nucleus farmer is providing with GCAP’s support, to cultivate other vegetables such as onions,so as to utilise the land and reservoirto the optimum all year round.

He said the government was prepared to help the youth with tractor services under a farm service centre initiative which will start soon to boost production and create wealth.Theministry, he added, has so many projects all over the countrythat are easily mistaken for the work of non-governmentorganisations,clarifying that these aregovernment interventions in partnership with the USAID and the World Bank.

Indeed, GCAP has, through its matching grants, provided infrastructure for commercial agriculture which is enhancing the small farmer’s fortunes and food production in the country.

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