Almost 10,000 small and medium holder farmers have increased their maize yield from an average of 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare to 4.5 metric tonnes under the Sustainable Maize Programme in the three regions of the North.
Solidaridad West Africa revealed this when the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Ron Strikker, paid a working visit to two beneficiary communities, Navariwie, and Kong in the Sissala West Municipal Assembly in the Upper West Region to inspect the progress of work.
The Sustainable Maize Programme which started in 2013, is a public-private partnership funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association.
The project is jointly implemented by Solidaridad West Africa and Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association across the three regions of Ghana and provides small and medium scale holders with technical skills to adopt good agricultural practices and adapt to climate change.
Mr. Ron Strikker commended the farmers for expanding their farms to feed themselves and the country despite the challenges they faced. “This is the only way to become financially independent and come out of poverty”.
Mr Strikker urged the farmers to form a stronger cooperative in order to access grants and other financial support to help them further expand their production and assured them of additional technical support for farmers to improve their farming and contribute to the government’s effort at making Ghana food sufficient.
The Sustainable Maize Programme fits with Solidaridad West Africa’s Food and Climate Change initiative, which supports farmers to sustain yield increases and higher returns on labour in ways that are environmentally responsible.
Mr Abdulahi Aliyu, Programme Manager for Solidaridad West Africa, said, the technical support provided to the project had been all-inclusive addressing environmental concerns, access to inputs, storage, and a market for the produce.
“This has contributed immensely to the impressive results we witness today,” he added.
Under the programme, the Masara N’Arziki Farmers Association provides training on good agricultural practices; good land use and management practices; conservation farming practices; farmer group cohesion and dynamics, farming as a business to increase profit and access to good and guaranteed markets for its members.
Mr Peter Kulve, Director of Operations for the Association, said 9,747 beneficiary farmers made significant progress in cultivation and expansion of their maize farm after applying the knowledge gained from the training.
Mr Iddrissu Basuglo a beneficiary in Sakai, expressed his gratitude to the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Solidaridad West Africa and Masara N’Arziki Association for the support given to him and other colleagues under the project. `