GAPTO appeals to Ministry of Food and Agriculture for unique scheme
Monday, 19 November 2012
The Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organization (GAPTO) have appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to establish a special out-grower scheme for the cultivation of onions in Ghana.
The organisation has further urged that the Ministry of Trade and Industry together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning collaborate to finalize all legal, institutional and administrative arrangements for the establishment of the scheme.
The appeal was made at the end of a recently held advocacy workshop which was organised under the auspice of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
According to a statement signed by the Executive Director of SMILE Ghana, a project that aims to among others contribute to sustainable farm management practices, Paul Oduro Frimpong the onion cultivation sub-sector of Ghana had been shown to possess a huge potential not only in cultivating onions to meet local demands, but also for supply to onion markets in other countries such as Togo, Benin and La Cote d’Ivoire.
It said contrary to the long-held assertion that onion could not be cultivated in commercial quantities in Ghana largely due to the country’s climatic conditions and rainfall regime, GAPTO has collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a four-year project that also piloted the cultivation of onion within the savannah belt of Ghana’s vegetation.
The project had demonstrated that onion is highly cultivable especially in northern Ghana.
Areas around Gambaga and Nalerigu in particular revealed a huge potential in terms of the quantity and quality of onions that could be cultivated there.
Statistics compiled by GAPTO on the volume and value of onion business conducted by GAPTO members within the onion markets in Accra and Kumasi in 2010 revealed that a total volume of 83,038 tons of onion was valued at $41,975,073 (GHc60,863,856.00) at the prevailing exchange rate of the same year.
The statement said it is important to emphasize that this volume of trade represents only the portion engaged in by GAPTO members in the onion markets of Accra and Kumasi (non GAPTO members who constitute a sizeable proportion of the onion market were not included in the study.
The study also revealed that with the appropriate investment in technology and seeds for onion farmers in Ghana, Ghana will not only be self-sufficient in onion cultivation but also gain valuable foreign exchange to support the country’s economic growth and development process”.
It said presently onion farmers across the country had problems accessing funds from the financial institutions and assistance from agricultural extension services.
The release said the move by government is expected to support the farmers to increase their cultivation and optimize the contribution of the onion sub-sector to the national economic growth and development process.
It said the onion sub-sector has the potential of providing sustainable employment and income for a vast proportion of the youth in the northern regions of Ghana and not only halting the phenomenon of the migration of the youth from the north to city centres in the south in search of jobs, but also reversing the adverse impact of the phenomenon on the socio-economic growth efforts of Ghana.
The statement said MOFA could explore the prospects of collaborating with the National Youth Employment Programme in supporting out-grower scheme initiative for onion cultivation.
It added that this initiative, if supported, could serve as a basis for the development of module under the NYEP for job creation and rural poverty reduction while expanding the horticultural base of Ghana’s agricultural sector”.
Courtesy: GBC NEWS