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Farmers appeal to GIZ-SMS to renew COVID-19 Response Project

BY: Emmanuel Baah
Cocoa farmers want GIZ-SMS project extended
Some of the beneficiary farmers in a group photograph with the stakeholders, after the closing ceremony of the GIZ- SMS Covid-19 response project in Kumasi.

Farmers in the Ashanti Region, want a renewal of the just-ended GIZ-SMS Covid-19 response project which was targeted at mitigating immediate health and economic impacts on cocoa smallholder farmers.

With the onset of COVID-19 and the social restrictions put in place by the government, the sustainable management system under ECOM implemented measures to continually support farmers' livelihoods while keeping their safety and health a priority.

A health information module on COVID-19 was implemented to constantly update over 5,000 cocoa smallholder farmers on the novel virus and safety protocols.

This was done through personal engagement by field staff and voice calls to farmers.

Other channels exploited for the project were community information centres, radio and voice messages.

The objective of the project was to disseminate information on COVID-19 and income diversification to increase farmers' awareness of how they (farmers) can protect themselves.

Thousands of nose masks, soaps and hand sanitisers were also donated to project communities.

Technical Advisor, GIZ, Esenam Afewu, emphasized "the GIZ/SMS project is a public-private partnership, anchored under the develoPPP programme of GIZ Ghana and implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The German Development Corporation promotes sustainable development through our projects and together with partners, we devise solutions that work to protect and enhance the lives of citizens."

The Project manager of SMS, Francis Ahiamata stated the project was designed on how to devise "means outside the box in the midst of the pandemic".

A farmer Nyamah Paul, said the project did not only ensure that farmers followed the COVID-19 protocols, but the myth surrounding the novel virus, especially in the hinterlands was also diffused.

"We were extensively educated and this convinced hard-to-crack farmers to take the COVID-19 jab," he said.

He stated that his colleague farmers want the project renewed.

"It saddens my heart that, this project is coming to an end. I pray GIZ/SMS renew it so all farmers in the country can benefit," he said.