Tamale, Oct. 4, GNA – The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has consulted the African Connections Ghana Limited, an experienced service provider to strengthen the capacities of smallholder farmers in the Savannah belt of the country to increase agricultural production in their vocations to reduce poverty.
In this direction, smallholder farmers would be trained on improved farming methods to produce in commercial quantities by utilizing the power of group formation towards commercial production and linking them to marketing centers.
Dr. Ayesha S. Hakeem, Managing Director of African Connections disclosed this in Tamale on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the third edition of the ‘focus on agriculture conference and exhibition’.
The three-day conference which is under the theme; “Market driven agriculture for accelerated rural economic development” brought together people from diverse backgrounds to brainstorm on workable solutions that would increase production and improve agriculture in the country.
Dr. Hakeem said African Connections believed in the positivism of the agricultural sector despite its numerous challenges, saying “An efficient value chain is an essential ingredient needed for agriculture to play the role it can play to drive rural economic development”.
She said the exhibition and conference would provide a platform for stakeholders across the value chain to network, interact, share ideas and come out with workable solutions to address the challenges within the agricultural sector from subsistence to commercial farming.
Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, Chief Executive Officer of SADA who chaired the function underscored the tremendous impact SADA had began to make in the areas of its operations since its operation stressing that several farmers had been assisted with improved seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs to cultivate maize, rice and beans in commercial quantities.
He said in the coming years, more assistance would be extended to benefit more farmers especially in the rural areas with much focus on women and linking them to marketing centers to ensure they get good value for their produce.
Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture in a speech read for him said the workshop was to explore methods of increasing productivity of small scale farmers and examine financing options to overcome challenges in the agric sector.
He said to strengthen the value chain system, MoFA was developing a private-public partnership and smallholder linkage to ensure that farmers had access to inputs and markets which were catalysts for improved agriculture.
Mr. Wilson Doku, Alliances for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Agriculture Value Chain Project Manager said AGRA had supported the country with 30 million dollars in 36 interventions but despite that, many challenges such as access to good seeds, fertilizers and sustainable farming practices still persisted.
He said bringing stakeholders together to deliberate on strategies to transform subsistence farming into a viable commercial industry will facilitate the achievement of the Government’s objective of lifting millions out of poverty.