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Posted 9 May 2018. PMN Crop News.


East-West Seed and Tikola Ghana Join Forces to Build Model Farms


Source: East-West Seed Press Release. www.eastwestseed.com


Nonthaburi, Thailand (April 24, 2018)--Often seen as a model for economic and political reform in Africa, Ghana's growth has been reasonably robust since the 1980s, and significant progress has been made in poverty reduction.

 

But there are still substantial rural-urban disparities, and poverty afflicted areas continue to rely heavily on agriculture. The relationship between increasing the productive capacity of smallholder farmer groups and Ghana’s ability to achieve its food and economic security goals remain intricately linked.

If Ghanaian smallholder farmers are to achieve higher yields through more sustainable agriculture, they require training in modern agricultural techniques. Simple methodologies can efficiently be produced through imitation, but more complicated methods require additional communication in the form of professional knowledge sharing and training.

During 2017, East-West Seed partnered with Tikola Ghana Limited, EWS’s sole distributor in Ghana, to initiate a Model Farm project which equips vegetable farmers with better agricultural practices and the abilities to get the best out of high-quality hybrid seeds. Backed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ GhanaVeg initiative—the ‘Business Opportunity Fund’—the project has successfully reached 1,500 farmers through ten strategically distributed demonstration sites.

The project monitored and maintained the ten Model Farms across a diversity of Ghanaian climatic zones (including savanna, coastal, and forest climes) for a full year to provide hands-on training to smallholder farmers. Tikola Ghana Ltd’s trainer and agronomist, Mr Zakari Musah received in depth training at SEVIA _ IVT, a collaborative extension programme between EWS, Rijk Zwaan and Wageningen University & Research in Tanzania.

The Model Farm demonstrations, reinforced by decades of experience about the local conditions, provided extensive learning for both farmers and input dealers across Ghana. The training provides participants with a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts seed choice, quality, and farming practices can have on productivity, yield, and income. Lorenzo Esmeralda, EWS’s agronomist stationed in West Africa, was also of great help during the initial phase of the project.

One farmer, Raymond Vuomile, shares how the project has had a significant impact on his life.

Despite successfully graduating university as a biomedical engineer, Vuomile struggled for five years to find employment in the health sector. He diversified his ambitions to begin again as a vegetable farmer specializing in cucumber on a plot in the Kintampo-Brong Ahafo Region. He made this choice after attending one of the Model Farm training sessions. A year later, he has a team of four in his employ, and through a stagger planting strategy of 500m2 per cropping cycle, he consistently supplies his local market with the Greengo cucumber; a crispy, healthy, and nutrient-dense fruit.

Vuomile successfully applies his engineering precision skills to his farming and has become a local guru to neighboring farmers who regularly seek his advice on seed choices and agricultural practices. Vuomile proposes, ‘Sometimes, we are limited not by our skills and knowledge, but merely by how we are trained and where we direct our focus.”