Empower smallholder farmers in agribusiness to attain SDGs – Agronomist

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Government and development partners have been urged to prioritise the empowerment of smallholder farmers in agribusinesses to facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Eli Gaveh, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said considering the number of smallholder farmers across the country who produced over 90 per cent of the food basket, it was sad to realise that majority of them were living in poverty.

“This is because majority of these farmers produce at the subsistence level and also sell their produces mostly at the farm gates to middle men who end up enjoying greater profit margin before the produce reaches the final consumers,” he said.

“These smallholder farmers could be empowered to form farmer groups and cooperatives as a first step to augment their group marketing for better and common bargaining power…,” he noted.

Dr Gaveh said this in an interview with the Pbwebghanaonline.com at Effiduase in the Sekyere East District of the Ashanti Region on the side-lines of a Trainer of Trainers workshop for 48 smallholder farmers.

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They were selected from 24 communities within the District including Ahensan, Apemso, Bomso, Nsutem, and Nkwankwanua.

The two-day training, which centred on “Empowering Smallholder Farmers on Effective and Sustainable Agribusinesses Approaches and Practices,” was organised by the Sekyere East Cluster office of World Vision Ghana (WVG).

It was in collaboration with the District Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Denarii Consult – a non-profit agribusiness and community development-oriented organisation.

The farmers were mainly into cocoa, rice, maize, cassava, plantain, cocoyam, garden eggs, and pepper production as well as livestock rearing.

Dr Gaveh, who is also the Executive Director of Denarii Consult, said forming farmer groups and cooperatives would facilitate smooth access to financial assistance to improve productivity.

This would also help them improve their marketing and sales capacity to increase profit leading to quality farm produce.

Mr Raphael Dodzi Sorkpor, the District Director of MOFA, advised farmers to undertake their activities as a business and not just subsistence or as a way of life.

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“Our focus as a Department of Agriculture is not only to facilitate access to technical information on good agricultural practices of various crops as well as necessary extension services to our farmers but to also empower and motivate the farmers to engage in agribusinesses,” he said.

Mr Paul Akuamoah Boateng, a Development Facilitator at the Sekyere East Cluster of WVG, said the organisation works to complement and augment the wellbeing of smallholder farmers and their families by empowering them in their economic activities for improved income and food security.

The WVG’s strategic focus is to curtail imbalances alienating women smallholder farmers from accessing relevant resources to improve yield, reduce their vulnerability and enhance their living standards.

Mr Aikens Harvery, a Youth Smallholder farmer from Ahensan, commended WVG and partners for the training, which had broadened their knowledge and skills for easy access to international markets.

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