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N/R: GASIP launches Agroforestry intervention and Training of Farmers in Tamale

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 is a giant step taken by GASIP towards protecting the environment while at the same time creating livelihood opportunities for smallholder farmers through commercial community-based nursery establishment, fruit tree crop farming and afforestation development.

This initiative launched in Tamale, the Northern regional capital was attended by 200 trainees drawn from four Districts – Kumbungu, Mion, Yendi and Nanton – within some GASIP operational areas. Present were Directors of the Department of Agriculture and the Northerner Regional Director for Agriculture, Madam Hawa Musah.

Agroforestry is one of the initiatives undertaken by GASIP under the Climate Change component. The main objective of this intervention is to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. The intervention will be implemented by developing the capacity of beneficiaries through the establishment of commercial community nurseries to produce and supply three hundred thousand (300,000) cashew seedlings.

In all, this intervention will directly train 800 community members within 20 Districts. This will involve the inclusion of 5% of People Living with Disability (PLWD), 50% women and 30% youth. 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.

The National Programme Coordinator of GASIP Mr. Klutse Kudomor, indicated that “the efforts of GASIP have exemplified the words of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, at a High-Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development in 2019.  “We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality. But tools are no use if you don’t use them. So, today, and every day, my appeal is clear and simple. We need action, ambition and political will. More action, more ambition and more political will,”

As suggested by the UN Secretary-General, “GASIP is taking action to support vulnerable farmers in answering the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality, Mr. Kudomor emphasized.”

He added, “At GASIP, our priority is the smallholder 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.

The training of the farmers will be led by the Institute for Nature and Environmental Conservation (INEC). Mr. Klutse indicated 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”.  For the next 10 months, beneficiary District Departments of Agriculture (DDAs) and farmers will be working with INEC in the targeted communities. 

Mr. Kudomor urged all stakeholders to work collaboratively and harmoniously for this intervention to succeed.

Climate Change Adaption

Dr. Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso, the Climate Change Adaptation Manager, indicated that 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 this capacity building seriously as seedling production is one of the few activities that begin 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 ready market for their seedlings.

The Northern Regional Agric Director

Speaking at event, the Regional Director for Agriculture, Madam Hawa Musah, acknowledged the significant role GASIP plays in supporting smallholder farmers to ensure food security, reduce rural poverty and economic empowerment of women and the youth. She further noted other environmental protection efforts by GASIP. She took particular notice of the planting of over 10, 000 tree seedlings, which GASIP championed to mark the Green Ghana Day. Following from this, she was not surprise that, GASIP is launching this agroforestry initiative to build the capacity of smallholder farmers to enable them to produce over 300,000 seedlings.

Madam Hawa Musah appealed to the Consultant and all other partners involved in this intervention, especially, the District Department of Agriculture and the farmers to take the initiative seriously and create the desired impact and further pledged her unflinching support to the programme. She hinted that she will be visiting nursery sites to monitor how farmers are taking advantage of this intervention.

Zaanews.com/Ghana

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