Local citrus farmers from the Eastern and Central regions are to benefit from organized spraying services aimed to improve farm yields and incomes, thanks to ADVANCE, a US initiative to make Ghana’s agricultural products competitive.
ADVANCE – Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement, is helping the citrus farmers to overcome the challenges of disease conditions, fertilizer misapplication and the upsurge of fruit flies, which have over the years affected the fruit production and quality.
The farmers and input dealers from the two regions met the officials of ADVANCE on Tuesday at Akim Oda at brief ceremony to handover 13 spraying equipment and protective materials for the exercise.
The farmers described the intervention as a blessing and timely especially because, ADVANCE was coming at a time when many orange farmers were deciding to stop the cultivation due to poor maintenance of farms and post harvest challenges.
The equipment went to four input dealers, three from Eastern and one from Central as grants, who would make them available anytime to the citrus farmers but at a minimal fee in order to make the exercise a commercially viable and sustainable project.
The input dealers, which were Tails and Details; Maranatha Agrochemicals; Enoch Farms all from the Eastern Region and Kaks Agrochemical from Central, also received documents on the chemical usage, as well as other manuals on citrus farming.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided the spraying machines at a cost of GH¢13,216. ADVANCE is one of USAID’s Feed the Future (FtF) programme, which adopts a value chain approach where small holder farmers are linked to markets, finance, inputs and equipment services.
Mr Mark Bruce, ADVANCE Grant Specialist, presented the spraying machines to the four beneficiaries.
“In order to improve yields and ensure quality fruits, as farmers you have to ensure always that you apply the right chemical and right quantity and at regular time necessary,” Ministry of Food and Agriculture Director for Birim South advised the farmers.
The citrus industry is estimated to be the largest fruit industry in Ghana with over 10,000 farmers, who are mostly smallholders.