The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, under its Programmatic Regional Initiative (PRI), has opened a multi-stakeholder workshop in Tamale to assess the constraints and needs of existing Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) and Processing Organizations (POs) in the West Gonja District.
The three-day workshop is being attended by representatives of POs and FBOs in the West Gonja District and apex organizations including the Ghana Federation of Agricultural Producers (GFAP), representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and civil society organizations.
It will come out with a Plan of Action towards addressing such constraints to reduce rural poverty and achieve food security.
The findings of the workshop will also serve as a basis for defining the next steps of the PRI that focuses on strengthening FBOs and POs and improving their access to support services through the setting-up of Community Service Centres (CSCs).
Speaking at the workshop Mr Mauro Bottaro, FAO Gender and Rural Institutions Specialist, said these CSCs served as catalysts for food security and sustainable development along the cassava value-chain in West Gonja.
He said FAO was leading the process in collaboration with the West Gonja District Assembly and other stakeholders including the Association of Church-based Development Project (ACDEP) based in northern Ghana, GFAP and POs and FBOs.
Mr Bottaro said the Programme would not only strengthen the performance, equity and governance of producers’ organizations but would also promote an enabling policy and legal framework for their development.
He said the proposed CSCs would assist in overcoming the bottlenecks and constraints faced by cassava producers and processors in West Gonja.
He said “The CSCs will provide women and men producers with the needed skills for improved production, processing, storage and marketing of cassava as well as active participation in decision-making and policy dialogue.”
The CSCs would also enable women, men and youth to increase their income, improve their livelihoods and benefit from socio-economic opportunities, he added.
Mr Luke Nayi, Desk Officer in-charge of FBO Development at the Northern Regional Office of MoFA, lauded the initiative, saying it would help strengthen FBOs in the region to deliver better services to their members to improve agricultural productivity.