Regional News of Friday, 15 March 2013
More than 2,000 farmers in six communities in the Northern Region of Ghana are to benefit from a 500 metric tons certified warehouse receipt system for grain storage at Datoyili in Tamale.
The facility which is the first of its kind in Ghana would be managed by Gundaa Produce Company (GPC), a Tamale-based community maize aggregator, and would serve small holder farmers in Diare, Tamalegu, Shelinlanyili, Kpatinga, Gaa and Kpugi in the Tamale Metropolis.
Ms Cheryl Anderson, United States Agency for International Development (USAID Mission Director and the Mr Clement Kofi Humado Minister of Food and Agriculture jointly handed over the facility to Alhaji Zakaria Alhassan, Director of GPC at a ceremony in Tamale.
The certified warehouse receipt system funded by the USAID through ADVANCE is a series of activities which enable grain farmer groups to bulk their excess bags of grains in community storage, processed and re-bag in the standard.
A warehouse receipt is then issued to the farmer and it could be used as collateral to secure loans from partner banks while traders and processors could also use the receipts to secure grains of good quality in the required volume at stable prices.
Ms Anderson said the grain warehouse system would increase the competitiveness of the country’s agriculture by increasing food production, reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing higher rural investment.
“I have no doubt that this facility will assist farmers to improve post-harvest storage practices. I encourage everyone to work hard to improve food security for the people of Ghana, Mr Humado said.”
According to him, the unavailability of a warehouse had been one of the major challenges farmers in the country face during harvesting. He added that more of such facilities would ensure food security.
He said government was in the process of reviewing the fertilizer subsidy for farmers to produce more food.
“We will as part of the program prepare an exit strategy to enable farmers to be on their own. With this we can break the poverty cycle in the region”.
Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, said the establishment of the facility would boost confidence in financial institutions to readily support farmers with loan facilities due to the transparent, confident and secured features.
Dr Kadri Alfah, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Grain Council, explained that staff had been equipped with adequate resource, equipment and software for the warehouse receipt systems and insurance policies. He said the Ghana Standards Authority would assist the GGC to sample and grade grains for receipting in addition to providing its laboratory to resolve disputes in the GGC warehouse receipts.