Farmers and traders engaged in the production and marketing of onions, maize and livestock are to receive support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve their agricultural activities and businesses.
The support programme is part of USAID’s Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP) project which is designed to exploit the potential of onions, maize and livestock for accelerated national development.
Addressing the opening session of a three-day workshop in Kumasi for 100 agricultural producers and traders selected from across the country, Ms Rose Lum Wanzie of the USAID/ATP Headquarters in Burkina Faso said her outfit was determined to ensure that the nation derived maximum benefit from the three agricultural produce.
The workshop, organised by the ATP and the Ghana Association of Producer and Trader Organisations (GAPTO), afforded the participants the opportunity to brainstorm on how to respond positively to the challenges in the production, processing and marketing of their produce.
The primary objective of the ATP project is to increase the value and volume of intra-regional agricultural trade in West Africa in order to contribute to achieving the six per cent agricultural growth target set under the comprehensive Africa agricultural development programme of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU-NEPAD).
Ms Wanzie acknowledged Ghana’s vast potential in agriculture, saying assisting the GAPTO members would help to drive substantial increases in intra-regional trade well beyond the duration of the ATP project.
She stated that it was anticipated that the project would play a key role in achieving a significant reduction in the physical and policy-related barriers to moving agricultural and related commodities from Ghana to other West African countries.
The GAPTO Secretary General, Mr Haruna Agesheka, expressed the organisation’s appreciation to USAID for the support and said such an endeavour would go a long way to helping GAPTO members to achieve their goals.
He said the future prospects of GAPTO to better co-ordinate and engage in intra-regional trade would be greatly influenced by the knowledge and skills to be acquired with the support of the ATP project.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr George Badu Yeboah, stressed the importance of agriculture in the development of the nation and called for continued support from the government and other organisations to develop the sector.
He said ensuring food security for the nation was paramount in driving the development process of the nation.
Mr Yeboah said with the introduction of subsidies on agricultural inputs and improved rainfall, indications were that the Ashanti Region would achieve better results in food production this year.