Business News of Wednesday, 21 November 2012
Source: Daily Guide
Onion farmers across the country say they cannot access funds from financial institutions and agricultural extension services to improve their trade.
They also complained about the lack of proper scheme to cultivate the produce in large quantities for export.
Paul Oduro Frimpong, Executive Director of SMILE Ghana, an NGO made this known on behalf of the farmers while speaking at an advocacy workshop organized under the auspices of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
According to him, the onion cultivation sub-sector in Ghana has a huge potential not only in cultivating onions to meet local demands but supply onion markets in Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire.
It is for this reason that the Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organization (GAPTO) has appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to establish a special out-grower scheme for the cultivation of onions in Ghana.
It also called on the Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning to collaborate to finalize all necessary legal, institutional and administrative arrangements for the establishment of the scheme.
In a statement issued recently, it said contrary to the belief that onions could not be cultivated in commercial quantities in Ghana because of the country’s climatic conditions and rainfall regime, GAPTO was collaborating with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to cultivate onions within the savannah belt of Ghana’s vegetation under a four-year project.
“The project had demonstrated that onion was highly cultivable especially in Northern Ghana. Areas around Gambaga and Nalerigu in particular revealed a huge potential in terms of the quantity and quality of onions that could be cultivated there.”
Statistics compiled by GAPTO on the volume and value of onion business conducted by GAPTO members within the onion markets in Accra and Kumasi in 2010 revealed that the total volume of 83,038 tons of onion was valued at GH¢60,863,856.00 at the prevailing exchange rate of the same year.
“The study also revealed that with the appropriate investment in technology and seeds for onion farmers in Ghana, Ghana will not only be self-sufficient in onion cultivation but also gain valuable foreign exchange to support the country’s economic growth and development process”.
“It is important to emphasize that this volume of trade represents only the portion engaged in by GAPTO members in the onion markets of Accra and Kumasi (non GAPTO members who constitute a sizeable proportion of the onion market were not included in the study),” it said.
“The onion sub-sector has the potential of providing sustainable employment and income for a vast proportion of the youth in the northern regions of Ghana and not only halt the phenomenon of the migration of the youth from the north to city centres in the south in search of jobs, but also reversing the adverse impact of the phenomenon on the socio-economic growth efforts of Ghana,” it said.