Mon, 30 Sep 2013 Feature Article

Agricultural Cluster Initiative Launched In Ghana’s Bole District

Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, Cluster Facilitator Explains CACI AgendaYaw Adu-Gyamfi, Cluster Facilitator Explains CACI Agenda

Ghana is said to have access to fertile lands with an opportunity to become the bread basket of West Africa if coordinated policies are harnessed to enhance agricultural production. In the Bole district of Ghana, the land is semi-arid with only one major rain fall season making agriculture production unpredictable due to reliance on rain-fed production. However, in the 2012 development report of the district, yam which is a major food crop was among 7 food crops that chalked surpluses in the food balance sheet for the period. The root and tuber crop compensated for low gains in cereals which are among major staples in the district. The report further added that, with sound environmental and agricultural practices coupled with sustained extension services, surpluses in food balance sheet could be maintained or improved with less acreage of land under cultivation.

In a bid to support the initiatives of government and also enhance the livelihood of farmers in the district, an agricultural initiative dubbed the Carpenter Agricultural Cluster Initiative-CACi has been launched. Preceding this initiative was a yam contest that sought to reward hard working farmers in Carpenter, a predominantly farming community in the district. The yam contest organized in collaboration with the St. Theresa Catholic Church and the Carpenter Traditional Authority was sponsored by the Wenchi Rural Bank, Burro LLC and Northern Empowerment Association-NEA.

The goal of the contest was to foster interaction between the informal and formal sectors and allow farmers in Carpenter to both display their own produce as well as expose themselves to information, services and products tailored towards enhancing their work. However, the farmers are far more than just engaged in farming; each is also an entrepreneur engaged in other aspects of the agricultural value chain. As such, the yam contest was extended beyond the production realm to include business development opportunities as well. Burro LLC, Wenchi Rural Bank and Farmerline in support of the Carpenter Agriculture Cluster Initiative-CACi were at the yam contest to interact with participants on their various products and services. The event also attracted resource persons from the Bole district office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture represented by the deputy director, Wenchi Agricultural Research Station and Agricultural Development Company-AgDevCo, a company interested in partnering the cluster to establish a model demonstration farm.

CACi is a conscious attempt to mobilize and organize farmers, businesses, government institutions, research institutions/universities and relevant resources to boost agricultural production and create jobs. The initiative will tap into existing schemes and programs from government and businesses that support farmers and also draw on training, knowledge, and personnel from research institutions and universities. The first round of projects under the cluster initiative is the development and dissemination of research information, making available improved planting materials, and establishment of a monitoring scheme, marketing services, warehousing to improve food storage and a unique financial model for farmers.

Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, Cluster Facilitator Explains CACI AgendaYaw Adu-Gyamfi, Cluster Facilitator Explains CACI Agenda

Nonia Kipo, First Prize Winner Being Presented With A Bicycle From Wenchi Rural Bank Nonia Kipo, First Prize Winner Being Presented With A Bicycle From Wenchi Rural Bank

Cross Section Of Farmers And Members Of CACICross Section Of Farmers And Members Of CACI

Editor's Note:

Yaw Adu-Gyamfi

Yaw is a cluster facilitator and member of the Pan-African Competitiveness Forum-PACF working towards improving the competitiveness of African countries through a bottom up approach to development and best practice sharing. He is also the initiator and facilitator of the Carpenter Agricultural Cluster Initiative-CACi and can be reached via [email protected]