Farmers trained in Agri-business skills to increase productivity and incomes 

By Fatima Anafu-Astanga 

Bolgatanga (U/E) Jan. 13, GNA – More than one thousand farmers have received series of trainings in Agri-business to improve on productivity, business management and incomes levels to reduce food insecurity in Northern Ghana. 

The participants were drawn from Binduri, Tempane, Garu districts in the Upper East Region and the Karaga district of the Northern Region under an ongoing project called Cultivating Productivity and Resilience to Mitigate Food Insecurity in West Africa. The project aims to improve food security in some African countries tagged to be food insecure. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program is being coordinated by the 1890 Universities Center of Excellence for Global Food Security and Defense, USA, North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University and the CSIR- Savannah Agriculture Institute, Ghana. 

Among the topics covered are agri-business skills, marketing, budgeting, quality and quantity control. 

Professor Osei- Agyemang Yeboah, an economist and social scientist at the North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University and Lead Person for the Africa Region also took the trainees on the essence of production for high income and profit making, marketing and client targeting and the need for consumer preferences before choosing the type of enterprises. 

Prof. Yeboah who spoke in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said the goal of the project was to increase on- farm and off-farm businesses, and promotion of value addition with emphasis on improved nutrition and food security for households. This will enable the farmers to have portions of their products to be sold locally, nationally or internationally for a good income. 

He said, the project was engaging the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in the promotion of protein-based foods and fats to supplement the nutrition requirements for children and women with emphasis on reducing malnutrition. 

To this end, he noted that in 2022 the project was able to feed over 500 school children in Kumbungu district through the maize and soya beans produce by the farmers. The farmers were trained to prepare Tom Brown and the women were trained on how to prepare meals from Tom Brown. According to him, this was successfully carried out with the Women in Agric Development (WIAD) unit of MoFA and Nutrition Unit of the Ghana Health Service.  

 Meanwhile The USAID and United states Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified the five Northern regions of Ghana to be food unsecured and that several activities were implemented to promote climate smart agriculture to increase food production. 

According to Professor Yeboah, agri-business management has been added to the project’s activities to build the skills of farmers to run their farms and ranches as businesses properly.  

 “This is because farming cannot be sustainable if the farmers keep on doing the same things, they were doing almost twenty years ago.” 

“That’s why everywhere including Ghana and all former Department of Agriculture and Economics have changed to Agri -business so that farming is seen as business and not just for livelihood activity “. He spoke. 

He said farmers still had challenges with contract farming which is part of marketing. He said working in groups or cooperatives has a critical mass to push a lot of their challenges through to the policy makers. He urged the farmers to produce in large quantities to increase profits and carry some level of processing to increase the longevity of the food. 

Dr Issah Sugri of CSIR-SARI advised the farmers to take advantage of the knowledge and skills provided by the project to increase their farm productivity and its associated benefits.