The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker has emphasized the need for Ghanaian farmers to take up responsibilities and invest in their future by venturing into entrepreneurship rather than just producing for immediate consumption.
According to him, the Ghana beyond Aid agenda being pursued by the Ghanaian Government will be effective if local farmers are empowered to become self-reliant.
He indicated that farmers will be able to produce for local consumption and for export if they are self-sufficient.
He expressed worry over the excessive importation of food crops into the country that could readily be produced in Ghana.
The Ambassador who was speaking at a graduation ceremony for fifty (50) Agriculture colleges tutors and Extension agents in the Ashanti Region said empowering farmers will enable them to improve productivity.
“If I say the core element or the heart of the matter is the farmer as an entrepreneur, I think it is the same thing as the central mindset of Ghana beyond Aid agenda. Ghana beyond Aid agenda started by his Excellency the President also emphasizes self-reliance. Taking responsibility for your own future, also taking a certain risk. A farmer like an entrepreneur also has to take a risk”, he said.
Mr. Strikker noted that the continuous investment in the Agric sector will help Ghana to feed itself, import less and save the foreign currency to invest other areas of importance to the country’s economic growth.
50 Agric college tutors, extension agents trained under Hortifresh programme
A total of twenty-four (24) Agriculture Extension Advisors and twenty-six (26) Agriculture College tutors have undergone an intensive three months to enable them to increase the capacities of Agronomists and Farmers.
The training which focuses on six key areas is aimed at ensuring best Agricultural practices for the fruit and vegetable sector in Ghana.
The participants were taken through seedling production, crop protection and spray techniques.
Other areas included; irrigation and fertilization, production planning and adult learning.
The participants were selected from the Kwadaso, Ohawu, Ejura and Damango Agriculture Colleges as well as Adidome, Asuansi and the Wenchi Farm Institutes.
Other participants included; tutors from Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ho Technical University, the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) and Agric Extension officers from Akomadan, Afrancho, Keta, Denu and Greater Accra Region.
The participants who have been certified by Hortifresh through Wageningen University and Research will work with about 50 farmers each in order to improve their skills and also ensure the farmers adhere to best Agriculture practices.
Speaking at a ceremony to graduate the participants at the Kwadaso Agric College in the Ashanti Region, Ambassador Strikker explained that the training was necessary as it will contribute greatly to growing healthy fruits and vegetables in Ghana.
The graduands also received Diploma certificates from the Wageningen University.
The Hortifresh programme is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands which has prioritized commercial agriculture in its strategic plan of moving aid to trade.
The programme which aims to reach 15,000 farmers and increase their productivity by 20% by 2021, is also to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth in Ghana and Ivory Coast.