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Let’s sustain gains made from HortiFresh

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, the Director of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture

THE Director of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, has called on stakeholders in the agriculture sector to protect gains and best practices achieved from the HortiFresh West Africa Programme.

The event provided agronomy training programmes to support knowledge transfer from the trained agronomists to smallholder farmers in their areas of operations.

It also strengthened the capacities of agricultural extension officers in the areas of onions, mango, tomato, among other fruits and vegetables.

He said the programme had impacted the entire value chain positively through the creation of sustainable livelihoods, improved access to inputs, finance, technical support and access to the market.

Closing ceremony

At the closing ceremony of the programme on June 3, Dr Ansah said for a modern global economy to be able to sustain production, it required innovation in agriculture with the adoption of ultra-modern technology.

He said there was the need to consolidate the skills, knowledge, technical support and operational expertise acquired from the project.

He said the government appreciated the contribution of the HortiFresh West Africa Programme, which was a follow-up project to the Ghana Veg project implemented in 2013, funded by the Government of Netherlands, towards developing a competitive horticulture sub-sector in the country.

“The HortiFresh West Africa Programme is closing on a high note with some impressive results which include improving the knowledge and income of over 15,000 family farms.

“It saw the creation of over 3,000 jobs; adoption of research results and the certification and financing of more than 30 small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” he said.

The Director added that three core models under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, namely Food Crops Production (FCP), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) and Greenhouse Technology Development (GTD), were being implemented to ensure the development and expansion of the industry.

Fruits and vegetable sectors

The Programme Manager of HortiFresh, Sheila Assibey-Yeboah, stated that HortiFresh focused on fruits and vegetable sectors in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

She said it had to a large extent, achieved its main objectives of improving productivity, facilitating more efficient markets, improving the business climate, professionalising the value chain and linking actors with Dutch/European Union private sector.

“Over time, the horticulture sector is responding better to the initiatives put forward during implementation,” she said.

Knowledge and skill

Mrs Assibey-Yeboah said the programme had contributed to knowledge and skill enhancement in agronomy, innovation, the inclusion of women and young persons in horticulture, reliable jobs in horticulture, certification, nutrition awareness, business to business (B2B) initiatives, and strengthening of private sector associations.

As of 2020, the agriculture sector accounted for 20.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of which the horticulture sub-sector was a key contributor.