Forty-eight (48) smallholder farmers from 24 communities within the Sekyere-East District in the Ashanti Region, have taken part in a two-day trainer-of-trainees capacity building workshop on Agribusinesses at Effiduase, the District's capital.
The goal of the training is to help upgrade the farmers' knowledge on effective and sustainable agribusiness approaches.
The expectation is that after the workshop, they would also share the lessons learnt with other farmers to enable them see farming as a business.
It was put together jointly by the Sekyere-East Cluster Office of World Vision Ghana (WVG), the District Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and Denarii Consult – a non-profit agribusiness and community development-oriented organization.
Dr Eli Gaveh, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), noted that empowering smallholder farmers in agribusiness helps in improving their production, marketing and sales capacity.
The Ghanaian farmer, he said, ought to transcend from the normal routine of supply chain to value chain- where not just the quantity of agricultural produce will be promoted but also, value addition for improved quality, will be guaranteed.
This, according to the Senior Lecturer, was necessary if farmers were to move away from the subsistence approach of farming, to a more business-like approach that ensured improved and sustainable livelihood.
The participant farmers selected from the operational communities of WVG in the District, were mainly into the production of cocoa, rice, maize, cassava, plantain, cocoyam, garden eggs, pepper, as well as livestock rearing.
Dr. Gaveh, who is also the Executive Director of Denarii Consult, encouraged the smallholder farmers to strive to form cooperatives as this was critical to enhancing their access to financial assistance from the banks.
This is also important to strengthening their bargaining power, especially in the marketing of their farm produce.
Mr. Raphael Dodzi Sorkpor, the District's Director of MOFA, said they were committed to facilitating access to technical information on good agricultural practices.
Ghana, he said, ought to be inspired by experiences drawn from local farmers in Kenya- who were well integrated into commodity value chains and were able to produce crops of high quality for the export market.
"This translates into higher income and improved livelihood opportunities for the local smallholder farmers," he noted.
Mr. Paul Akuamoah Boateng, a Development Facilitator at the Sekyere-East Cluster Office of WVG, said their focus was to enhance the general wellbeing of smallholder farmers.