Cowpea producers in savannah regions to be trained

Cowpea producers across 20 districts in the savannah regions are to be trained to enable them to become economically viable.

The regions include Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo.

The move is to address the problem of poor pricing and inefficient cowpea marketing systems to improve its production and sustainability.

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) is to facilitate the training and networking of the farmers under a project dubbed: “Empowering smallholder cowpea farmers for sustainable increase in cowpea production to achieve poverty reduction through training in integrated crop production and pests management in 40 farmer field schools”.

It is a two-year Technical Coopeartion Project funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

To this end, PFAG on Tuesday held a meeting with farmers and agric extension agents drawn from the beneficiary districts in the Northern Region to deliberate on forming viable farmer based organizations across the districts to facilitate the process.

Some of the districts included Savelugu/Nanton, East Mamprusi, Tolon/Kumbungu, and Tamale Metropolitan Assembly.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sylvester Logo, Technical Manager of the Cowpea Project of the FAO said it was also to ensure that the country produced enough cowpea to meet her consumption requirement.

Mr Logo said currently, the country produced only 24 per cent of her cowpea consumption requirement thereby importing the remaining 76 per cent from neighbouring countries.

He said the major constraints to increased cowpea production in the country included inadequacies in seed, poor or low farmer access to existing approved seed, training in improved techniques for cowpea production and poor pricing and inefficient marketing systems.

He was hopeful that the training would help meet the expected outcome of the project which aimed, amongst other things, to ensure that women cowpea farmers were empowered and profitably engaged in its production.

Madam Victoria Adongo, Programmes Coordinator of PFAG said aside the training and networking, PFAG would also link the farmers to markets such as the School Feeding Programme and the World Food Programme who were ready to purchase the produce.

Mr Charles Nyaaba, Programmes Officer of PFAG stressed the nutritional values of cowpea saying it contributed to the protein needs of the people and called for investment in the sector.

Mr William Boakye Acheampong, Northern Regional Director of MoFA entreated farmers to embrace the project, saying cowpea held a lot of prospects for its producers.

Source: GNA

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