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Regional News of Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Source: GNA

Farmers laud AVCMP for increased yield

Some farmers have lauded the Agricultural Value Chain Mentorship Programme (AVCMP) as it has taught them best agronomic practices that have led to increases in their crop yields.

Mr Stephen Issifu, Secretary of Chieshie Kpaman Farmers Association in the Tamale Metropolis, said most farmers now ploughed their farms on time, applied the right quantity of fertilizer, used certified seeds and weeded their farms on time, which ensured increased yields.

Mr Issifu said this in an interaction with journalists during a field visit to rice, maize and soybean demonstration farms by officials of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), Ghana Agricultural Associations Business and Information Center (GAABIC) and Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) at Chieshie, a farming community in the Tamale Metropolis on Monday.

The visit was to enable the officials to assess the results of the interventions introduced under the AVCMP to enhance the production of rice, maize and soybean in the country.

The AVCMP involves assisting farmer-based organisations (FBOs), smallholder farmers, agro-dealers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve their entrepreneurial and technical skills for improved agricultural productivity.

The AVCMP seeks to contribute to the government’s objectives of achieving food security and converting the country’s agriculture sector into an agro-industrial economy with the goal to transforming the agricultural value chain into a highly productive, efficient, competitive and sustainable system.

Mr Issifu said the technologies also ensured the fertility of the soil thereby supporting plant growth adding various technologies in the form of improved and certified maize, rice and soybean seeds developed under the AVCMP had more than tripled their harvests.

Mr Issifu said the marketing component of the project had also ensured ready markets for their produce as farmers were linked to buyers.

Mr Tia Yussif, Member of the Kpaman Kawuni Song Farmers Based Organization at Chieshie said the new farming technologies introduced under the AVCMP had led to a reduction in the cost of production whiles increasing yields.

However, most farmers complained of lack of tractor services and subsidised fertilizer, a situation which sometimes delayed cultivation and affected production.

Mr Yussif, therefore, appealed to the Government to make tractor services available to farmers at rural communities to enable them to realise the full benefits of the AVCMP.

He also called for sustained availability of fertilizer sold at subsidised prices to make it affordable to all farmers.

Dr Wilson Dogbey, Coordinator of AVCMP at SARI, said a lot more technologies would be developed to address the challenges of farmers to lift them out of poverty.

The AVCMP is funded by AGRA and the Danish International Development Agency and implemented by IFDC, GAABIC and SARI targeting 34,000 farmers, 680 FBOs, 50 SMEs (including aggregators, marketers, processors) and 400 agro-dealers.

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