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Business News of Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Kingdom of Netherlands provides support in fruit/vegetable farming

The Government of the Kingdom of The Netherlands is supporting Ghana to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributed to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security.

Mr Ronald Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana who disclosed this, said in line with this, the Netherland Government was supporting the Kwadaso Agricultural College in Kumasi, to review its curriculum to focus on the training of farming and agricultural entrepreneurs in Ghana.

He was speaking at the graduation ceremony for 50 agricultural extension officers and agricultural training college tutors in Kumasi, who had attended a trainer of trainer’s workshop on fruit and vegetable farming in Kumasi.

The training programme was arranged by the Wageningen University of the Netherlands under its Hortifresh programme, is receiving support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The goal is to strengthen the research capacities of agricultural extension officers to form a cohort of trainers who would in turn train more extension officers and farmers to support the fruit and vegetable farming in Ghana.

The graduation ceremony coincided with a field event in Kumasi for fruit and vegetable farmers as well as extension officers and tutors from agricultural colleges.

Mr Srikker stressed the need for Ghana to intensify efforts at empowering farmers to manage their farms as business entities.

He pointed out that building the capacities and offering appropriate training to change the mindset of Ghanaian farmers to prioritize commercial agriculture, was the surest way to move Ghana beyond aid.

“A lot of things have to change, it is time for Ghana to focus on priority initiatives which could form the basis for the economic empowerment of its people.

We have to change the mindset of the farmer to enable him focus on becoming a successful entrepreneur whose work goes beyond just producing food,” he added.

He emphasized that farmers needed to know what their expenditures, inputs, as well as ready markets were and use those as opportunities to create wealth and improve the livelihoods of the people.

Mr Strikker bemoaned the high rate of fruits and vegetables import into the country and said the importation of over $2.5 billion worth of the products could change if farmers were encouraged to produce healthy fruits and vegetables locally.

Mr Hanson Arthur, Fund Manager for HortiFresh Agronomy Capacity Development, said another aim of the training was to create a sustainable approach of capacity development of agriculture extension agents and tutors.

“This group had been earmarked as having a major role to play in strengthening the skills of agronomists and farmers for good agricultural practices for the fruit and vegetable sector in Ghana,” he added.

He said each graduate was expected to work with about 50 farmers in efforts to impart knowledge widely and contribute to ensuring good agricultural practices in the fruit and vegetable sector.