Tamale, Nov. 23, GNA – The Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) has launched an Agroforestry intervention and commenced training of farmers in nursery establishment, commercial seedling production and development of community-based plantations.
The initiative seeks to protect the environment as well as create livelihood opportunities for small holder farmers through commercial community-based nursery establishment, fruit tree crop farming and afforestation development.
Agroforestry is one of the initiatives undertaken by GASIP under the Climate Change component, and this intervention also seeks to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts in the country.
The intervention is being implemented by developing the capacity of beneficiaries through the establishment of commercial community nurseries to produce and supply 360,000 cashew seedlings.
In all, this intervention will directly train 800 community members including persons with disabilities (five per cent), women (50%) and youth (30%) in 20 districts.
The districts included Atebubu-Amantin, Sene West, Techiman, Banda, Sunyani West, Kumbungu, Mion, Nanton, Nanumba South, Yendi.
The rest are East Mamprusi, Mamprugu-Moaduri, West Mamprusi, East Gonja, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, North Gonja, Jirapa, Nandom and Wa West.
The seedlings will be used to establish fruit tree crop alleys on farmlands, other forms of tree crop development leading to diversified and increased production, additional revenues, amelioration of the local climate and overall rural community economic empowerment will be considered.
Mr Klutse Kudomor, National Programme Coordinator of GASIP, who spoke during the launch of the intervention and commencement of the training of small holder farmers in Tamale, said, “GASIP is taking action to support vulnerable farmers in answering the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality.”
It was attended by 200 trainees drawn from four beneficiary districts - Kumbungu, Mion, Yendi and Nanton.
Mr Kudomor added that, “At GASIP, our priority is the small holder farmer, who constitutes the majority of the agricultural workforce and produces more than 90% of staples we consume in Ghana.”
He called on private institutions and other partners to purchase the seedlings from the nurseries of the trained farmers to ensure sustainable business ventures for the groups.
He spoke about the training of farmers under the intervention, saying it would be led by the Institute for Nature and Environmental Conservation (INEC), and, “For the next 10 months, beneficiary District Departments of Agriculture (DDAs) and farmers will be working with INEC in the targeted communities.”
He added that, “INEC was selected through a competitive bidding process as a result of their expertise in the conservation of biodiversity, especially plants and animals that are faced with critical threats from human activities”.
Mr Kudomor urged all stakeholders to work collaboratively and harmoniously for this intervention to succeed.
Dr Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso, Climate Change Adaptation Manager at GASIP said the beneficiary districts were selected following a thorough assessment on the ecological suitability, marketability of the tree crop species and willingness of the districts and beneficiaries.
Dr Akoto-Danso encouraged trainees to take the training seriously as seedling production was one of the few activities that began the process of protecting the environment.
He added that, “Marketing of the seedlings is not going to be a challenge as there is a huge demand for cashew seedlings. GASIP is also working with other stakeholders to ensure a ready market for their seedlings.”
Madam Hawa Musah, Northern Regional Director of Agriculture noted the significant role GASIP played in supporting small holder farmers to ensure food security, reduce rural poverty and economic empowerment of women and the youth.
Madam Musah commended GASIP for the initiative to build the capacity of small holder farmers to enable them to produce 360,000 seedlings and appealed to all stakeholders to take the initiative seriously to create the desired impact.
A beneficiary farmer from the Kumbungu District lauded the initiative saying, it would supplement the income streams of the beneficiary small holder farmers.
GASIP is being financed by an International Fund for Agricultural Development loan and a grant from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme.
GASIP is being implemented by MoFA to sustainably reduce poverty in rural Ghana by increasing profitability and resilience to climate change of agribusinesses and small holder farmers.