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Business News of Friday, 22 May 2015

Source: GNA

USAID provides improved crop varieties for farmers

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided $ 382,957.00 to two agricultural firms to aid the multiplication of improved quality root and cereal crop varieties for distribution to farmers across the country.

The Josma Agro-Industries at Woraso, near Asante Mampong in the Asante-Mampong Municipality and Pee Farms at Ejura in the Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipality, are the pilot sites chosen for implementation under USAID’s Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership (SSTP) Project.

The project is aimed at increasing the production of high quality seeds for distribution to more farmers who through innovative agricultural technologies would increase their per acre yields to improve their incomes.

These came to light when a group of journalists from Kumasi visited two farms at Asante-Mampong Ejura-Sekyedumase municipalities.

Josma Agro-Industries, which is being supported with $ 207,000, is multiplying 10 different cassava varieties on a 40-hectare land to produce about 4.2 million seeds for 1,260 small-holder farmers in Mampong Municipality, Sekyere Central and Ejura-Sekyeredumasi Districts.

It is also producing about 500,000 mini-sets of yam on 46 hectare land for distribution to 12,000 farmers in the beneficiary communities.

Mrs Janet Gyima Kesse, Managing Director of Josma Agro-Industries, told the media that besides producing and disseminating improved certified cassava and yam planting materials, the project is also providing technical support to the farmers.

It is also to develop effective and efficient market linkages in root and tuber commodity through connecting the farmers to markets to improve the off-take of the farm produce.

She said apart from the direct beneficiaries, the project would indirectly benefit about 64,000 more people in the three districts.

Mrs Gyima Kesse said an awareness creation campaign had been created among the people in the districts while about 1,500 farmers had undertaken field trips to the nursery farms.

The Pee Farms, which is being supported with an amount of $175,957, is cultivating about 40 acres of hybrid maize seeds, 110 acres of open pollinated varieties and 120 hectares of quality soybeans seeds.

It is expected to raise about 180 metric tonnes of maize seeds and 85 metric tonnes of soybeans for about 360 small-holder farmers in another three areas-the Ejura-Sekyeredumasi, Atebubu-Amantin and Nkoranza Districts.

Mr Issifu Mohamed Pangabu, owner of the Pee Farms, told the media that, about 400 small-holder farmers have been trained and provided with seeds to plant on their farms.

He said the project is also helping to create employment for many people in the districts.