You are here: HomeNews2012 02 23Article 230514

Business News of Thursday, 23 February 2012

Source: myjoyonline

GREL & B-Bovid sign agreement to promote food security

As part of efforts to enhance food security in rubber growing areas in the Western and Central Regions, the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited, GREL, has in partnership with B-BOVID, an innovative and transformational agro-processing company in the Western Region, signed a partnership agreement to assist small holder farmers to produce more food.

In this joint venture, GREL will use the premises of B-BOVID as a demonstration and training centre, where farmers in the Rubber Outgrower Plantations Project would be trained on livestock keeping and crop production. The expected outcomes are that farmers will acquire skills and adopt best agricultural practices; there would be increased food production for farmers in and around rubber growing areas. The cost of facilities and structures for the project, excluding cost of training is GHC 170,000.00.

Since 1995, GREL has been the Technical Operator for Rubber Outgrower Projects and have had four phases since then. To date 5450 outgrowers have been assisted to develop 22000 hectares in the Western, Central and Ashanti Regions. In 2011, the total production from the Rubber Outgrower Projects was 6482 tons dry rubber content.

The Rubber Outgrower Projects V is expected to be launched in 2013 with a target of assisting 5000 farmers to plant 12000 hectares. This will bring the total number of farmers participating in the project to 10,000 with a total hecterage of 40,000 by 2015. The Managing Director of GREL, Mr. Lionel Barres says the collaboration with B-BOVID means a lot to the company because farmers need to have food crops for feeding aside growing rubber for money.

Mr. Barres however denied suggestions that GREL has taken over all arable lands for rubber plantations at the expense of food cropping, which threatens food security. He explained that rubber plantations in the Western and Central regions cover less than 2% of arable lands. He noted that GREL aside this collaboration aimed at enhancing food security instituted a food crop program to assist farmers in producing enough and quality food per unit area in its operational areas in the year 2011.

Thirteen demonstration farms were established in various locations with a variety of crops. The objective of these farms, he said, was to train farmers in Good Agricultural Practice to enhance farmers’ crop productivity per unit area.

This activity he said has now become a permanent feature in GREL’s operations. According to him, farmers trained last year realized significant improvement in their crop yield per unit area.

GREL, as part of it corporate social responsibility has also donated 15 computers to B-BOVID’s ICT in Agriculture training centre.

B-BOVID Limited is a Ghanaian agro-business company that is promoting a new model of social inclusive commercial farming, which combines innovative agricultural practices, ecological farming and social entrepreneurship to deliver high quality organic products, conserve the environment, promote sustainable lifestyle, create jobs and reduce poverty in rural communities. The company works with rural people and the poor to create sustainable jobs and opportunities for sustainable development. It is based on these social commitments that the company has partnered with GREL to secure the future against food insecurity.

Mr. Issa Ouedraogo, the CEO of B-BOVID, hinted that the company will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Development Studies (UDS) Tamale, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, as well some international institutions for the purposes of collaboration and making the centre a knowledge hub for smallholder farmers.

“B-BOVID also seeks to implement Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) of other companies or institutions with a common goal of giving back to the society or communities they operate in the form of sustainable Agriculture/ Agro-business and alternative livelihood projects”.

The signing of the partnership agreement was witnessed by officials of both companies and heads of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Western Region.