March 30, 2011
Accra, March 30, GNA - Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, a nationwideadvocacy organization, striving for agriculture and trade justice, has held atwo-day capacity building workshop for small-holder farmers in Ho and Koforidua.
It was to shape theirunderstanding on some aspects of government's agriculture policy framework for the period 2011-2015 and how they could tap into the opportunities it offered.
The workshop for members in the Southern Zone and Middle Belt aimed to providethe participants a holistic orientation to the Medium Term Agriculture SectorInvestment Plan (METASIP) and how the small holder farmers could tap into it tocreate wealth, enhance incomes and reduce poverty.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency after the two workshops in Ho andKoforidua, Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, Coordinator of GTLC, said after years of advocacy,it was important to get members to enhance their knowledge on positioningthemselves to take advantage of various government's initiatives to transformtheir trade and to deal with the various situations.
He said the workshops centred on educating the farmers on how to access someof these facilities rather than sitting on the fringes.
On the METASIP, Mr Akalbila said government had spelt out variousinterventions aimed to improve technology use among smallholder farmers toincrease yields.
There are also programmes to reduce poverty and create wealth throughdiversification into cash crops and livestock and value addition.
Mr Akalbila said putting all these knowledge to the smallholder farmersshould spur them on to demand from the duty-bearers support for their work.
While admitting that the available resource would not permit support for all smallholder farmers, he said, those who position themselves well especially with viable business plans couldget support from the government and the private sector.
However, Mr Akalbila said it would take a gradual approach to get allsmallholder farmers to appreciate the need for a good and viable business planand this explained the reason why as part of the workshop a session was devotedto discussing the elements of a business plan and how it facilitates access to resources from both public and private sector to improve on their farming business operations.
On its part, the GTLC is in the process of helping smallholder farmers develop business plans that will open up more and better opportunities from Government and the private sector and also enhance their political and economic empowerment.
Participants were also taken through the unveiling the value chain forbetter awareness, production, handling and increased patronage of localproducts.