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‘Outgrower Scheme Good For Small Farmers’   
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Developing outgrower nucleus schemes is the sure way to increase agriculture productivity of small farmers, Food and Agriculture Minister, Kofi Humado, has said.

“I believe that is the approach to adopt if we have to increase productivity of small farmers, give better market access and obtain critical mass of raw materials for industry,“ the minister said at this year’s joint agricultural sector review meeting with stakeholders in Accra last Tuesday.

The outgrower nucleus scheme, Mr Humado said, was the best way to implement the value chain approach, and that the establishment of the Agribusiness Unit within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) was to support such processes.

He said it was necessary for the various stakeholders to co-ordinate their activities to ensure that efforts being made were harmonised in order to achieve the expected results in the sector.

“We must be constantly informed of what our actions are yielding, to either boost our morale or help us redirect our efforts. Otherwise, we may just be throwing away our good money with the hope that we would achieve our goals one day,” Mr Humado said.

He said the ministry’s block farm programme with fertiliser subsidy, improved seeds, and support for land preparation interventions had paid off, giving a clear indication that with targeted interventions, results could be achieved.

Mr Humado said production statistics showed percentage increases in 2012 compared to 2011 for maize, rice and cassava.

Mr Inusah Fuseini, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said under the Land Administration Project (LAP I), the ministry was acquiring lidar spectrum orthophotos to support the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project.

He explained that in addition to showing land surface characteristics, the orthophotos provided information on the sub-terrain characteristics of soils to aid agricultural planning and analysis.

Mr Fuseini said a new term “Large scale land based investment” is gaining currency within international development dialogues, and given the weak institutional structures in Ghana, “great care should be taken to ensure we do not sell our birth right for a mess of pottage.”

The joint sector review meeting, which started in 2008, is aimed at reaching a common consensus among major sector stakeholders on key achievements, implementation challenges and progress against strategic reform priorities.

Nana Odeneho Gyapong Ababioi II, the Chairman of the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) steering committee, called for appropriate financing for the sector to promote its further development

“After some deliberations of the steering committee, value chain financing has been identified as a useful approach where some market end profits are ploughed back to push production,” he said.
Source: GNA

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