Food Facility Programme to increase millet, sorghum production

A day’s workshop has been held in Bolgatanga to empower stakeholders, especially farmers, to grow sorghum and millet on large scale under the Food Facility Project funded by the European Union and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The project is to empower rural women and men in West African Countries to increase income and food security through strengthened capacity to achieve higher and sustainable yields in sorghum and millet production.

The Countries being covered include Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Nigeria. In Ghana, the regions targeted are the Northern, Upper East and Upper West.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agriculture Institute (CSIR-SARI) in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) are the implanters.

The theme of the workshop was “Strengthening the capacity of Researchers, Poor Farm households, especially Women to achieve a higher and more sustainable yields from sorghum and pearl millet in Ghana”.

Addressing participants, the National Coordinator of the Food Facility Programme, Dr. Ibrahim D.K Atokple, said the overall goal of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of West Africa Farmers and Researchers to enable them to jointly adopt new pearl millet and sorghum varieties and crop production innovations to meet specific needs.

He said the project would enhance the economic and nutritional benefits of farmers through the cultivation of sorghum and pearl millet, strengthen and consolidate researchers’ and farmers’ skills in participatory development, test and scale up crop management practices and improve pearl millet and sorghum varieties that increase yield and quality.

It would also develop a training resource in a range of media forms for continued and scaled up farmer, researcher and the development of community capacity building in participatory techniques for effective agriculture technology development and adaptation.

The project would further enhance researchers and development partners’ capacities to monitor activities into their participatory technology adaptation and dissemination efforts.

Dr. Atokple indicated that the three Northern Regions had the greatest potential for   millet and sorghum production and said many farmers in the area had been growing the crops, stressing that when given the necessary attention and support it could become the oil base for the North since the two crops are now in high demand by brewing companies and could also be used as bio-fuel and other purposes.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Woyongo who indicated that the Upper East was a major contributor of millet and sorghum in the country said the project would boost the income levels of farmers in the region.

He, however, appealed to the project to add value and to help get market for the produce and lamented that many at times many projects do not add value and the marketing component when implementing agriculture projects.

Mr Woyongo mentioned that Guinness Ghana Limited which assured the Millet and Sorghum farmers at Garu-Tempane District in the Upper East Region had disappointed the farmers who devoted much of their time to farm the crop, adding that the issue of tomato glut in the Region was another case in point.

The workshop attracted stakeholders including District Directors of Agriculture, farmers, Non-Governmental Organizations, Staff of CSIR-SARI among others, drawn from the three Northern Regions.

Mr. Emmanuel Eledi, the Upper East Regional Director of Food and Agriculture who chaired the function, stated that millet and sorghum production was one of the major crops undertaken by many farmers in Sub-Sahara African countries and entreated the farmers to take advantage of the project to improve upon their livelihoods.

Source: GNA

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