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Sorghum Farmers Get Economic Boost

2006-10-07 05:22:19
This article has been read 1266 times.

The West Africa Sorghum Value Chain Development Project would, within the next five years, raise the income level of 7,000 sorghum farming households in sorghum growing areas of the country by 50 per cent.

The project, which is being undertaken by Techno Serve and Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited and sponsored in Ghana by the Common Fund for Commodities, aims at developing a public/private partnership that substantially enhances the sorghum supply chain in Ghana and Sierra Leone.

It will enable farmers meet market specifications of the brewery industry and bring in one million dollars seasonal credit to farming households.

In Sierra Leone, 3,000 farmers have been targeted by the project. Mr Stephen Mwinkaara, Techno Serve Project Manager, made this known at a farmers' durbar at Han in the Jirapa/Lambussie District where two of the demonstration farms are located.

So far, he said, 1,000 acres of land had been planted and an additional 1,000 acres yet to be cropped under irrigation while 500 farmers and extension staff had benefited from training programmes under the Ghana component of the project.

Among the major components of the project include, the development, test and introduction of new industrial sorghum and its varieties and technologies and the establishment of rapid seed multiplication enterprises and collection centres.

The Project Manager assured sorghum farmers that Heineken and Guinness and their subsidiaries in Ghana and Sierra Leone were committed to substituting a portion of their imported raw material component in their breweries.

He said 25 per cent of the farmers participating in the project were expected to be women and by the close of the project, 20 commercial seed multipliers would have been produced.

Mr Prosper Sunnu, a representative of Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, said at the current level of the production of sorghum, his firm was not able to meet its import substitution requirement. He said the company used about 56 metric tones of malt from barley for brewing daily and with a projected requirement of about 15 per cent local malt it would need about 1,608 bags of sorghum daily. Mr Edward Salia, the Member of Parliament for Jirapa, advised the farmers to embrace the project as a poverty reduction enterprise and avoid diverting farm inputs in order to record good yields.


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