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UER MoFA engages Tomato Value Chain actors

The Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture has started engagements with actors in the tomato value chain to revamp tomato production, to sustain local market consumption in the country.

The initiative comes with the full complement of research scientists from UDS and SARI, Tomato Traders and Transporters Association of Ghana (TTTAG), input dealers MoFA, and the Irrigation Company of Upper East Region (ICOUR) among others.

Mr Francis Ennor, the Regional MoFA Director in an address to participants said the initiative would provide support to 98 farmers to be selected across seven districts in the region.

They would be given skills to produce to meet standardized protocols in production and later be scaled up to all farmers committed to the production of tomatoes in the region and the trend of traders bypassing the region to buy tomatoes from Burkina Faso would be reversed.

Mr Ennor assured all in the tomato business that the annual glut of the produce, refusal of traders to buy due to quality issues and robbery cases when tomato traders travelled to Burkina Faso to buy the produce would be over by the next production period.

He stated that the Upper East Region had all the resources to produce and market its tomatoes, however attitudinal change of the farmers was critical to the new direction planned for the industry and also indicated that “taking Agriculture to a higher level is key and the only way our people will get employment”.

The Director called on the farmers to be committed to the new drive if they wanted to create and improve market opportunities and income levels.

Some of the tomato farmers who shared their experiences enumerated their challenges as seed varieties, disease, withering of the plants, fertilizer, weather conditions during transplanting period, wrong use of insecticides and poor soils.

Mr Joseph Agambila, a farmer noted that some seed varieties though good needed to be properly packaged and added that some input dealers retailed seeds without appropriate labeling and therefore farmers only get to know the varieties after the tomatoes had fruited.

Mr Eric Osei Tuffour, Chairman, TTTAG, also at the meeting reiterated the association’s criteria of buying their produce.

He specifically stated that they received the best services from farmers in Burkina Faso and urged farmers in the region to prepare to provide quality and preferred variety and good packaging in the tomato business.
Source:GNA

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Agribusiness

Finding a lucrative spot in sweet potato farming – Farmer highlights its profitability

Finding a lucrative spot in sweet potato farming - Farmer highlights its profitability

Emmanuel Ashiabie has been a farmer for the past 30 years and has in recent years found a sweet spot in the production of sweet potatoes, describing it as a lucrative venture.

Based in a town known as Aberful; Awutu Senya in the Central Region, Mr. Ashiabie who started farming at age 19 is currently promoting the cultivation and consumption of sweet potatoes for maximum profit.

The farmer in an interview with the Ghanaian Farmer TV Show said he is happy with his harvest.

A tuber of sweet potato takes only three to four months to mature and in a good year, Mr. Emmanuel Ashiabie makes about GHC10,000 on an acre of sweet potato farm.

“An acre of sweet potato farm in good season can give you 50 of the 100KG sacks. And the price range is from GH100 to GH200 depending on the season and its availability,” he told the host of Ghanaian Farmer, Enyonam Manye.

Sweet potatoes require fewer inputs and less labour compared to other food crops like maize and cassava; this explains why the farmer diverted into sweet potatoes farming on a large scale.

“I was much more into cassava and maize farming and sweet potatoes were on a small piece of land. I started to do it on a large scale after I realised it’s more profitable with the ready market,” Mr. Ashiabie explained.

According to the International Potato Centre, an agricultural research organization,  sweet potatoes are also hardy and more tolerant to harsh conditions like dry spells and poor soils.

The tuber can also stay in the soil long after maturity, making the time of harvest less critical.

Mr. Emmanuel Ashiabie who manages Emash Farms threw a challenge to other farmers to invest in sweet potato production as the profit is enormous.

While explaining why he chose to plant the white-fleshed type, he stated that it’s quite easy and doesn’t require a lot of water to perform well unlike the orange-fleshed one.

“In a good season, you can get more than 10 tubers of sweet potato on vine after harvest. If it’s affected by bad weather patterns, you should be getting five or six. Even with this, you won’t make losses.”

“The best season to plant sweet potatoes and get a good price is between May and September.  It can be grown twice in a year.”

Challenges

Meanwhile, Mr. Ashiabie highlighted the challenges he faces as a farmer and  one of the major ones is how real estate companies have taken over majority of the farmlands.

“Farmlands have become scarce because the estate companies have bought almost all of them. I used to rent 10 acres of land but that’s not the case anymore. We can’t get it to rent like before.

He appealed to the district to provide them with farming machinery including tractors as it is always a challenge hiring one during the farming season.

Forming Association

 To help address the challenges in getting financial support, Mr. Ashiabie has planned to form a farmer-based organisation for potato producers. He said this will also help address poor pricing from the buyers.

“Potatoes are a cash-crop which can also be added to Ghana’s commodities for export.  A lot of people in this area have stopped maize and cassava farming and are into potato production,” he added.

He acknowledged that the government’s subsidy on fertilizer has been helpful.

He expressed gratitude to Crocodile Matchets for supporting farmers in diverse ways.

Value Addition To Sweet Potatoes

Aside from selling sweet potatoes in its raw form to local markets, the farmers are optimistic that the establishment of a factory in the Awutu Senya area can help sell value-added products made from sweet potatoes.

This can include sweet potato flour for bread as one of its products. Sweet potato flour can also go into snacks like cakes and pies.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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Agribusiness

Bird Flu outbreak: Limit movement of poultry ahead of Eid-ul-Adha – Poultry Farmers

What's The Best Pen For 1000 Bird Poultry Farm? (Pictures needed)

The Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association is urging poultry farmers to be cautious and vigilant to avert a further spread of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza disease, otherwise known as Bird Flu, in the country.

After the outbreak of Bird Flu in parts of Ghana, the association has said education will be key in overcoming this challenge to the poultry industry.

“First and foremost, we are going to educate our farmers on the need to heighten their biosecurity… then we are also going to educate people buying from [them],” President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, Michael Nyarko Ampem said to Citi News.

“More importantly, we encourage our members to reduce the movement of birds especially as Tuesday is a holiday, and we are going to have Eid-ul-Adha,” he added.

Mr. Ampem also stressed the need for better vigilance of the affected regions.

“We are going to encourage that some of these things are really monitored so that we do not transfer the flu from one region to another, but it is contained in the districts and regions where they are found.”

According to the Veterinary Services Directorate, the Bird Flu was detected in the Greater Accra, Central and Volta regions.

The outbreak of the disease follows the detection of similar cases in neighbouring countries since January 2021.

Cases of the Bird Flu disease were previously recorded in Ghana in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Following the recent outbreak, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture announced a total ban on the importation of poultry and poultry products from neighbouring countries where the prevalence of the disease has been confirmed.

A ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products within and from the affected regions and districts to other parts of the country, and strict inspection and issuance of permits to cover the movement of all poultry and poultry products from unaffected parts of the country has also been put in place.

In addition, the ministry said it has intensified public awareness and sensitisation by Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies, especially in the affected areas.

Source:citinewsroom

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Agribusiness

Ministry announces Bird Flu in Ghana; bans importation of poultry from neighboring countries

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has confirmed the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza disease, also known as Bird Flu, in the Greater Accra, Central and Volta regions.

It has, consequently, declared a total ban on the importation of poultry and poultry products from neighbouring countries where the prevalence of the disease has been confirmed.

It has also placed a ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products within and from the affected regions and districts to other parts of the country, and strict
inspection and issuance of permits to cover the movement of all poultry and poultry products from unaffected parts of the country.

These were announced in a statement, signed on behalf of the Minister, Dr Patrick Abakeh, Director, Veterinary Services Directorate, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

“The zoonotic nature of the disease calls for public alert and vigilance to mitigate the possible impact on the poultry industry and public-health, in general, it cautioned.

It advised citizens to report any unusual deaths of domestic poultry and wild birds to the nearest Veterinary office and public authorities for public safety.

They should also avoid the handling of dead birds with bare hands and consume only well-cooked poultry meat and poultry products.

“The outbreak of the disease follows the detection of similar cases in neighbouring countries since January, 202,” it said.

“Through effective surveillance and disease control management, the Veterinary Services Directorate has prevented the extension of the disease into Ghana until now.”

It noted that cases of the Bird Flu disease were previously recorded in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2018, with significant economic impact on affected poultry farmers.

The statement said the Ministry was also intensifying public awareness and sensitisation through the Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies, especially in the affected areas.

It, however, urged the public not to panic because the Veterinary Services Directorate was taking all the necessary steps to contain the outbreak and spread of the disease.

It urged the public to contact Dr Abakeh on phone number 020-8240734 for further information.

The Center for Disease Control explains that the disease is caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.

These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.

Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans.

However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.

Source:GNA

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