Farmers in the Sekyere East District of Ashanti have come together to take a giant step to reduce post-harvest loses by adding value to their produce to enhance their incomes and livelihoods.
This was demonstrated by the farmers, who are members of the Asante Effiduase Kroye Farmers’ Cooperative Union, when they organized a durbar at Effiduase to launch and showcase their first agro-processed local staples.
The well prepared, packaged and branded products which included mixed plantain and cassava “fufu” flour, plantain flour, cassava flour, “gari”, plantain chips and others, were presented to the public to announce the commencement of the agro-processing business of the group.
The farmers, predominantly into smallholder production of cocoa, cassava, plantain, maize, vegetables and fruits, had already undergone an intensive training programme in agro-processing, market access skills and improved agronomic practices at the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture (KITA), at Domeabra, near Kumasi.
It was funded by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
Mr Clement Duku, Chairman of the farmers group, said the focus was to bridge the existing gap between farmers, technical and financial support agencies to help improve agricultural productivity, incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
He said the establishment of the agro-processing business was a strategic approach to overcome post-harvest losses and poor prices they receive on their harvested raw food products, especially during seasons of abundance of the staple foods on the local markets.
Mr Duku thanked KITA, BUSAC Fund and the District Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the support adding that the group was looking at employing more of the youth in the business and enhance their interest in farming and agribusiness.
He said the farmers were ready to engage in contract farming and the supply of processed food products and called on all stakeholders to support the initiative to sustain the business.
Mr Raphael Dodzi Sorkpor, District Director of Agriculture, commended the group for the initiative and hard work which had helped sustain food production in the district.
He urged them to put into practice all the agri-business skills and techniques learnt, such as record keeping, profit and loss statement, and others in order to sustain the business and improve their incomes.
Nana Adu Ameyaw II, chief of Effiduase and patron of the farmers’ group commended the group members for the motivation and efforts.
He said there is the need for transparency, accountability and cooperation from the leadership and group members to help achieve their goals.
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