Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bio-fuel production threatens Ghana’s agriculture

Mr Cyril T. Quist, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of  Agriculture,  has said mining and biofuel  production in the country posed a threat to agriculture.
He said efforts at promoting sustainable food systems were in danger if current practices where vast tracks of land were sold or leased for mining and production of biofuel were not stopped.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark World Food Day at Nsawkaw, he said this could pose a potential risk to food security thus exacerbating hunger and poverty because the practice only destroyed the ability of the soil to support crop production.
It also contributed to the destruction of water bodies vital for agricultural production and eventually affect food security and lead to hunger and poverty.
Mr Quist said because of weak food systems, land productivity had increased more than labour productivity in agriculture and this was inimical to growth in incomes.
However, he said, sustainable food systems would allow more attention to be given to market access and improving standards in local markets for food safety.
Mr Quist said improving food security would enable the poor to earn money and become more resilient which in turn would enable them to participate in economic activities and contribute to social development and needs, including health and education.
He said improving food security by investing in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, social protection and the opening of markets were vital to sustainable development.
On food production in the Region, Mr Quist said to promote sustainable food systems MoFA had promoted the development of commodity value chains, to increase incomes of farmers to reduce the level of poverty among cassava farmers.
Farmers under the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) are being supported with improved cassava planting materials and extension advice to increase cassava production.
Processing centres have been upgraded into Good Practice Centres (GPC) where issues of hygiene have been improved to result in quality output, while linkages have been established between producers and processors to create dedicated market for cassava producers.
Ms Christina Amarchey, Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana (Brong Ahafo Region), expressed concern that more than three million children across the world died each year from not getting enough of the right food to eat, while many  more children suffer from undernourishment, which affect their mental and physical developments.
She called on Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) of MoFA to intensify their education on the importance of healthy balanced diets, and promote the production of more animal source foods.
Source: GNA

Agriculture in UGANDA

Agriculture in Uganda Agriculture is still the main stay of the Ugandan economy although the contribution of agriculture has been declining over the years; the sector has continued to dominate the Ugandan economy. It contributed about 23.9 pct. of the total GDP in 2013. Agriculture also provides approximately 82 pct. of the employment and most industries and services in the country are dependent on this sector.

The recent history of Danida’s agriculture support The Agricultural Sector Programme Support phase 2 (ASPS II) was implemented in the period 2005-2010 with a budget of DKK 294 Million. The main objectives of ASPS II were to increase incomes, improve household food security and improve the quality of life for economically active low income small farmers. The programme support focused on research and technological development, provision of advisory services, agricultural education, business support to micro, small and medium enterprises, access to rural financial services through micro-lease and co-guarantee arrangements, natural resources use and management, agro-processing and marketing, deepening decentralisation, gender mainstreaming and HIV/AIDS issues in agriculture as cross cutting themes and restoration of farming livelihoods in post conflict environments in Northern Uganda.

The Public Sector Agricultural Support (PSAS) component of the U-Growth Programme
The current Danida programme supporting public sector agriculture in Uganda is the Public Sector Agricultural Support (PSAS), which is a component of the U-Growth programme. The main objective of the PSAS is to support the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) in its preparations to receive sector budget support and subsequently to support implementation of the agriculture Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) of the Ugandan government. The PSAS objective is aligned with the DSIP’s objective to support the public sector to carry out its agreed mandate and to pursue its vision of a competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector that accommodates all farmer categories in different production zones. The PSAS will be implemented in the period 2010-2013 and has a budget of DKK 5 million, with additional DKK 41 million that remains to be allocated for supporting public sector functions in the agricultural sector.

The PSAS consists of three different types of technical assistance, namely;

1. A long-term international advisor in MAAIF's Agriculture Planning Department with the objective to improve the planning in the sector towards a joint budget support.

2. Short term consultancies to formulate bankable programmes to insure that the core priorities in the DSIP receive funding.

3. Short-term technical assistance to assist MAAIF in building capacity in strategic areas such as financial management, budget process, better functioning Sector Working Group and finalisation of agriculture DSIP.

Partners The main partner of the PSAS is the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries. The programme is implemented in close cooperation with other donors in the sector, namely;
• World Bank (WB)
• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
• European Union (EU)
• International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
• African Development Bank (AfDB)
• United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
• Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)