The Project is aimed at improving service delivery and increased access to markets along the agriculture value chain and developing the capacity of the Ministry’s extension staff to provide adequate support for the FBOs.
Nii Amasah Namoale, Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Fisheries, said the two year project seeks to address the knowledge gap in business development service saying “it would also strengthen the capacity of extension staff at all levels and help strengthen the FBOs to operate their enterprises in an effective manner.
He said the Ministry recognizes the need to deliver services through farmers groups as a strategy to ensure cost effectiveness in service delivery to the small scale farmers.
“Encouraging farmers to form sustainable groups would therefore empower them to participate in decision in the market and socio-political arena and increase their potential to benefit from the economies of scale”, he said.
Nii Namoale said the project would also seek to identify active FBO Apex bodies and strengthen them to play their roles adequately to complement the responsibilities of the extension officers.
He said the development and sustenance of FBO’s had become very important in the acceleration of agricultural development and called on all stakeholders especially farmers to avail themselves in creating a formidable FBO for accelerated rural development.
Madam Minica Van Wensveen, Food Security Advisor, Australian Aid, said it was important to promote and maintain training programs to extend innovations to small scale farmers across the country.
She said the partnership was to share experiences from both countries to improve the sector adding that it would also help improve agricultural productivity and community capacity.
Dr Kwame Amezah, Director, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Service (DAES), said the project was designed such that the FBOs would be able to live on their own and provide support for themselves.
He said the launch of the project starts the planning of the implementation in a participatory manner with DAES staff from all regions and representative from FBOs to continue to develop the annual work plan.
FBOs provides opportunities for farmers to benefit from economies of scale, better bargaining power and to maintain a stronger voice in policy development.