Mr Alex Dadzawa, the Director of Projects, GEPA said: “We have introduced a number of initiatives including the supply of improved planting materials to farmers to increase their yields”.
He said GEPA realised that one of the major challenges producers usually encounter was access to good planting materials that is of quality, because the yield was a direct function of the planting material.
Mr Dadzawa made these remarks during a panel discussion at a breakfast forum on agribusiness in Accra.
The forum, which was held under the theme: “Investing in Agribusiness”, highlighted the prospects and opportunities in agriculture, challenges as well as policy frameworks within the agribusiness sector in Ghana.
It was organised by the Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CGCC), as part of efforts to promote the agribusiness sector in Ghana.
Mr Dadzawa said GEPA has already provided some support to pineapple producers and that they had procured more than a million suckers, which has been given to farmers to produce.
He said there were similar plans for yam and cashew nut; stating that crop diseases being among factors affecting production, hence, GEPA was giving assistance farmers to spray their farms to control it.
He said another exercise GEPA was embarking on, was providing training to farmers particularly those who were not well educated and could not apply best practices in farming.
The Director of Projects said with the use of pesticides and agro chemicals, farmers need training to avoid over application, which might affect the quality of their produce on international market.
He said the producers were being trained through the various associations, and as such; GEPA would continue using extension officers at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and in some cases third party service providers to train farmers, since GEPA did not have the technical capacity.
Mr Dadzawa said all these initiatives were aimed at increasing production and improving the quality of the yields, to be able to meet export demands on the market.
He said quite often buyers get disappointed after GEPA has linked them to exporters; declaring that they realise that they were not able to meet the orders.
“That is why our new management is looking at giving more support to production on the ground, when the volumes are raised then you can be confident to reach the market”, he added.
Mr Davies Korboe, Chief Executive Officer of Cotton Weblink Portfolio Ghana Limited, said one of the major challenges associated with agribusiness was agricultural financing; with a prevailing interest rate of 33 per cent and also at a short term.
He proposed that there should be an agricultural fund which would be solely focus on agribusiness with an interest rate of three to five per cent depending on the value chain.
Mr Korboe again suggested that policy makers must involve actors in the policy formulation process to help achieve a common objective of contributing to the growth of the economy.