Agribooster programme, meant for farmers to boost food production in Ghana, has been launched in Accra by OCP Africa, a subsidiary of the Moroccan phosphate Group, a company committed to the development of the agricultural ecosystem in Africa.
The farmer-centred market development model, called the ‘Agribooster Offer, aims at supporting smallholder farmers to get access to good quality inputs and financial services, enhance market linkages and benefit from training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
The programmes end goal, is to help farmers increase their yields and hence, their revenues.
Under the programme, two agricultural inputs packages namely “Agribooster Plus” and Agribooster would be introduced to farmers. The “Agribooster Plus” package is a compressive package consisting of high performing hybrid seeds, crop protection chemicals and fertilizers.
The package would be offered to lead farmers, who would also benefit from training in GAP and farming as a business. The regular Agribooster package consists of fertilizer and cascaded training on GAP and farming as a business.
This training is to be delivered by the lead farmers.
The objective of the package is to also demonstrate the impact of training and good application of fertilizers on farm yields, and eventually, convince farmers to switch to the “Agribooster Plus” package. The overall goal of the project is to enhance a sustainable farmer ecosystem and consolidate availability of high quality agricultural inputs (fertilizers, seeds and crop protection chemicals) and services (training, finance and take-off).
Dr Seth Osei Akoto, Director of Crops, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), who officially launched the programme in Accra, said improving yields of these priority crops would allow farmers to meet demand for feed, food and jobs (both rural and urban), while minimizing the pressure on the need to bring large amounts of new land into crop production.
He noted that the programme was governed by demand and market-driven approaches and led to increases in adoption of quality seeds of improved varieties, fertilizers and good agronomic practices as well as marketing of farm produce.
He explained that it also built a critical knowledge base and strengthened systems that would further catalyze private sector participation and full engagement in the agriculture sector. He urged farmers and agribusiness community to take maximum advantage of the opportunities being offered by the ’Agribooster’ programme of OCP Africa; so as to increase productivity of major crops and ultimately aid in the socio-economic transformation of our country Ghana.
Dr Osei Akoto, also formally cut the tape to commission the motorbikes for the project’s extension officers. Mr Samuel Oduro-Asare, Country Manager, OCP Ghana, said the programme holds a transformative offer to the nation’s farmers, youth and any other group or individuals interested, not just in farming, but aspires to be successful at it.
He said to ensure effective monitoring and supervision of the programme, the project extension officers would be provided with motorbikes to facilitate their work. Mr William Awuku Ahiadormey, Chief Executive Officer, Cropcare Ghana Limited, challenged Ghanaian farmers to rise up and produce enough food crops for domestic consumption and the export market.