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17.10.2005 General News

Farmers in Africa attend workshop

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Accra, Oct. 17, GNA - A workshop to deliberate on how to improve on rural agriculture and food production in Anglophone Africa opened in Accra on Monday with a call to emphasise the use of radio to educate farmers and fishermen.

The Minister of Information, Mr Dan Botwe commended the idea to use rural radio to improve agriculture in Africa since more than 60 per cent of the continent's rural population was engaged in agricultural production.

In a speech delivered for him by his Deputy, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Information Minister said rural farmers and fishermen needed such radio education that would help improve upon their production and marketing methods.

"Rural radio communication systems would definitely be an enhancing supplementary tool in the rural communities where information communication is most crucial. Radio can reach the illiterate comfortably and its availability to the rural folks demands attention from governments..." Mr Botwe stressed.

Participants, including mangers, coordinators of the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) nations that are supported by CTA movement would focus on how rural radio could be explored to facilitate agriculture and rural development.

The Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen (GNAFF) in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a body that develops and provides information services to ensure better research, training and innovations in agriculture production in partner countries, is hosting the five-day workshop being attended by participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and the Gambia.

Other participants from both private and public sectors from Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Uganda are participating in the workshop, an annual event of the CTA, for member countries.

According to Mr Botwe, concerns in health, education, and the environment, impinged on agricultural production, processing and food security. Therefore, the workshop opportunity being given farmers and other stakeholders by the CTA was useful and important. He said the tenets of the workshop fall very well in line with Ghana's policy initiative of development communication under which the government was desirous of establishing a sustained two-way flow of information between the people and itself.

Such information and knowledge, the Minister said, were crucial factors that linked with the social, economic and technological changes, contributing to improved agricultural productivity, food security and rural living conditions.

Mr. John Awuku Dziwornu, National Secretary of GNAFF, said participants would take stock and review the current status of agricultural projects being support by CTA.

He said CTA partnership with member countries had been able to put beneficiaries on the threshold of fashioning appropriate strategies, facilitating and providing various services to farmers and other stakeholders in agricultural and rural development.

He said GNAFF particularly had been able to build the foundation for a more sustainable and dynamic organisation.

"A number of radio stations have been invited to this workshop as a way of drawing attention to the basic fact that a strong partnership has to be fashioned out to improve upon the content and dissemination of agricultural information," Mr Dziwornu indicated.

Dr Ibrahim Tiemogo, Programme Coordinator, CTA, explained that the Centre's mission was to strengthen policy and institutional capacity development and information and communication management capacities of ACP agriculture and rural development.

He said field trips to some rural radio stations would be undertaken as part of workshop for participants to gain the experience of others.