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Sorghum "Experiment" in Northern Regions Shows Promise

2007-09-25 23:00:35
This article has been read 987 times.

Mr. Stephen Mwinkaara, manager of the West Africa Sorghum Value Chain Development Project has announced that last year the project generated 370,000 Ghana Cedis (3.7 billion cedis) as income for sorghum farmers in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions. This was made possible through technical and credit support the Project offered to farmers in the regions.

They produced 903 metric tonnes of "kapaala," a new breed of sorghum, whose cultivation is being promoted in the regions to serve as raw material for Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, manufactures of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brewages.

Mr. Stephen Mwinkaara was speaking at a farmers' durbar at Kokoligu in the Lawra District of the Upper West region over the weekend.

The durbar was organized by the Project under the auspices of Technoserve, a non-governmental organisation, to showcase a 20-acre sorghum farm intercropped with grafted mango.

Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General, with technical support from the Project established it as a demonstration farm this year.

Mr. Mwinkaara expressed the hope that the farmers would produce 1,600 metric tonnes of the grain expected to cost 660,000 Ghana cedis (6.6 billion cedis) this farming season from about 4,000 acres of farm lands.

Mr. Dery said he established the farm to demonstrate that the land was suitable for the crop to encourage farmers to adopt it as a cash crop to minimize poverty in the area.

"We in the North cannot get out of poverty unless we move away from peasant farming to cultivating cash crops and the assured market for 'Kapaala' is one way of diversifying agriculture to reduce poverty."

Mr. George Hikah Benson, Upper West Regional Minister said the government is concerned about difficulties in accessing credit from financial institutions for agricultural activities which is having a negative impact on its policy of modernizing agriculture He said the situation was due to high default in repayment of loans contracted by farmers.

Mr. Benson assured the farmers in the region that the government is tackling problems relating to the recent floods in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions with all seriousness.

The main objective of the Sorghum Development Project was to implement a public-private partnership scheme that would enhance sustainable sorghum supply to the GGBL to reduce its over-reliance on imported barley for its products.

The Project is a collaborative effort of GGBL, Common Fund for Commodities, SINAPI ABA Trust, a micro-financing agency, the Capital Venture Fund and Technoserve.


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