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Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association Launched in Tamale

2011-12-07 20:37:31
This article has been read 695 times.

Ghana’s annual maize consumption is about 40 million bags despite the structural shortage of the crop. This was made known in Tamale during the launch of Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association (MAFA).

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Marc Kok, Managing Director of Wienco, said “Maize is the most important cereal crop in Ghana and forms an important part of the food and feed system and also contributes significantly to income generation for rural households,” Adding that “the establishment of MAFA is therefore an indication of Ghana’s potential in maize production.”

He said “MAFA is the culmination of the Industrial Maize Programme initiated by Wienco (Ghana) Limited in partnership with YARA and the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund which established the Ghana Grains Partnership and eventually gave birth to Masara N’arziki in 2009.”

Further, the Managing Director noted that the importance of MAFA could not be doubted as maize accounted for about 56 per cent of cultivated land while about 98 per cent of the 3.5 million small-scale farmers in the country were engaged in crop production.

According to Mr. Kok, Masara N’Arziki aims at ensuring easy access to affordable credit in the form of high quality inputs, appropriate training of maize farmers for higher productivity, ensuring higher yields for increased incomes of farmers and the nation as a whole, group marketing to obtain better prices, guaranteed markets for members, improving the standard of living of the member farmers and providing a model for sustainable farmer credit schemes.

The programme package provides access to fertilisers, hybrid seeds, herbicides, insecticides, spraying equipment, and innovative farm implements on credit as well as technical advisory and training services to farmers.

It also supports small and medium holder farmers to adopt good agricultural practices such as land use and management practices, group cohesion and dynamics to increase productivity and profit.

Small-and medium-scale farmers produce about 75 per cent of the nation’s maize crop, while the large-scale sector-farms accounts for more than 25 acres of the produce.

On the average, about one million hectares of maize is planted annually, with the production ranging from 32 million to 36 million bags, depending on the weather and market conditions.

The sector, however, is hampered by the lack of input, poor training, lack of pest control, expensive infrastructure, ineffective and inadequate storage among other factors.

Mr. Luuc Smits, General Manager Masara N’arziki, noted that it was a historic occasion for the farmers to join MAFA to the benefit of generations to come, noting that the large presence of key stakeholders and partners at the launch was an indication of the interest they had in the future of MAFA.

He expressed the shared vision of MAFA as the creation of a future of prosperity ‘by combining all our individual strengths to create one voice and one face – The Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association.

Mr. Smits described members of the Association as “the beating heart” of MAFA whose expertise would be used as a tool to achieve the goals of the association.


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