Business News of Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Source: GNA

WFP presents equipment to smallholder farmers

The World Food Programme (WFP) has presented equipment and materials to 10 farmer groups under its Purchase for Progress (P4P) Initiative, to help improve rice production in Northern Ghana.

The equipment include: 10 rice reapers, 10 rice threshers and 524 tarpaulins.

Thirty per cent of the cost of the equipment was borne by the beneficiary farmers whilst the WFP provided the remaining 70 per cent.

The facility would help increase rice production and make the use of sickles and threshing of paddy with sticks, a thing of the past.

Mr Aboubacar Koisha, Head of Sub-Office of the WFP in Tamale, presented the facility to the smallholder farmer groups at a ceremony in Tamale on Monday.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr Ismail Omer, WFP Country Representative said, the presentation of the equipment and the materials marked the fulfillment of the second objective of the P4P Initiative.

The P4P Initiative aims at improving the lives of smallholder farmers through training, providing basic agricultural equipment, and linking them to agricultural markets that offer fair prices for their commodities such as rice, maize and cowpea.

The implementation of the P4P Initiative started last year and its first objective which was to provide extensive training in technical, business and organizational development in the Tamale Metropolis and the Tolon-Kumbungu District of the Northern Region, and 16 maize producing farmer organizations in the Ejura-Sekyeredumasi District of the Ashanti Region was achieved.

The P4P Initiative also aims to increase smallholder farmers’ income in order to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition amongst vulnerable people.

Mr Omer said, WFP hoped to also fulfill the third objective of the initiative by this year, which is to provide a market for the produce of the beneficiary farmers.

He said, “We hope to buy rice from you to support the Ghana School Feeding Programme, to provide school meals to some 150,000 school children across the three northern regions”.

Mr Joseph Faalong, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, thanked WFP for the presentation and promised that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture would help farmers to ensure routine maintenance of the equipment.**