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GASIP’s goal is to contribute to sustainable poverty reduction in rural areas of Ghana and its dev...

cashew fruitThe Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) and the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) have launched an advocacy initiative to help create a sustainable cashew sector in Ghana.

A statement signed by the President of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association, Richmond Frimpong said the initiative will also seek to bring to the fore issues around the current state of local processing of cashew.

It will also see the provision of answers to questions on how an enabling environment for the sector can be created.

Read full statement below:

The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) and the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has launched an advocacy initiative to help create a sustainable cashew sector in Ghana.

Cashew is increasingly becoming a key agricultural export commodity, raking in millions of Dollars for the country’s economy. According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the country earned $981 million from the export of cashew in 2016, making it one of the leading agricultural export commodities after cocoa. The crop is currently grown on more than 89,000 hectares of farmlands across the country, creating an estimated 40,000 jobs in production and even more in processing and logistics.

Ghana has the capacity to grow more cashew because of its potential to adapt to climate change effects, and its profitability. But this possible expansion is being hindered by a number of challenges including difficulty in accessing finance, weak organisation of stakeholders, underexploited potential of local processing, low yields and insufficient access to improved planting material, as well overall absence of an enabling policy environment. Over the years, sufficient media attention has not been paid to these challenges so they catch the attention of decision makers to address them.

As part of this initiative, GARDJA and GIZ/ComCashew will work to increase cashew related visibility in the Ghanaian media, as well as strengthen capacities of media stakeholders so they can put cashew issues at the fore front of media and political discussions.

Information on agronomic practices of cashew, farmer-related activities, organisation of stakeholders, prices, climate change adaptation and mitigation, among others, will be disseminated to journalists. The initiative will also seek to bring to the fore issues around the current state of local processing of cashew and provide answers to questions on how an enabling environment for the sector can be created.

Overall, the objective of this collaboration is to strengthen and build the technical capacities of journalists and editors, as well as other relevant media stakeholders on the cashew value chain through training, field visits, and support for the publication of cashew related stories.

As an association of more than 200 journalists and communication experts within the agricultural value chain, it is our hope at GARDJA that this initiative will go a long way to help create a sustainable cashew sector that both supports good quality livelihoods for cashew farmers, and improve upon the Ghanaian economy.

We look forward to working with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, cashew farmers, cashew processers, among others to make this initiative as success for the benefit of mother Ghana.

Signed
Richmond Frimpong
President, Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association

PastedGraphic 4 9In the fight against novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has initiated a process to raise about GH¢60million to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline agriculture workers.

The rationale is to support frontline agriculture workers, encompassing smallholder farmers, agriculture extension agents (AEAs), and community extension volunteers among others to safeguard them in performing their invaluable farm duties during the 2020 farming seasons and beyond.

About 2.6 million smallholder farmers across the country are expected to benefit from the AGRA PPE.

“Health and food security are the two imperatives we need to check under this COVID-19 pandemic period, otherwise it will be disastrous for us; hence the decision to support agriculture frontline workers with PPE,” Foster Boateng, West Africa Head of AGRA, disclosed to B&FT.

He said the move to support the agriculture workers is in line with the fulcrum of AGRA’s mission and vision to primarily help farmers access improved seeds, fertiliser and enhanced extension services to increase productivity. “For the past ten years, AGRA has embarked on this trajectory to help farmers expand food production.”

Already, AGRA has presented Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) worth GH¢20,000 and seed money of GH¢10,000 to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to help agriculture extension officers and farmers mitigate possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Boateng appealed for the private sector and meaningful individuals to support the cause by contributing to promote food security in the country. “Government needs to drive its own agriculture agenda, but there is need to support it. Sometimes, government lacks the capacity to mobilise resources to invest into agriculture. It is therefore important for the private sector, civil societies to come on board and support so as to sustain and accelerate agriculture gains to ensure food security.”

He stated that AGRA will stick to its modus operandi of reaching out to farmers and other beneficiaries with the PPE. AGRA has been working through the district Assemblies, district Agric offices, community extension leaders and NGOs like the Catholic Relief Services and Hunger Project, he added.

The West Africa AGRA boss commended the government of Ghana for its efforts to transform agriculture and expand food production over the years. He however urged government not to relent in its effort to consolidate the gains, particularly in the era of COVID-19. “Government must direct more investments into agriculture at this difficult moment, or else all the gains will be eroded. Ghana is well-positioned to produce more and supply to other African countries after COVID-19.”

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led, Africa-based and farmer-centred institution working to put smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming their farming from a solitary struggle for survival to a business that thrives.

Its vision is to catalyse and sustain inclusive agriculture transformation in Africa by increasing incomes and improving food security for 30 million smallholder households in Africa, and to support countries on a pathway to attain and sustain an agriculture transformation.

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