By Gidean Kwame Sarkodie Osei
Raymond Yaotse, Project Manager of United Purpose Ghana’s Partnership for Accelerated Local Economic Development in the Bono East and Ahafo regions has indicated that, Ghana may loose on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) if we do not as a matter of urgency implement the use of weights and measures in the buying and selling of agricultural produce.
He said, even though Ghana is hosting the regional free trade body’s headquarters, we stand to lose a lot in the agricultural sector if National, Regional and District level directive and clear implementation plan on use of weight and measures in buying and selling of agricultural produce is not implemented.
“All of Ghana’s neighboring countries have long adopted the use of weights in marketing agricultural commodities. In spite of the fact that, this has been successful in these countries, Ghana is still finding it very difficult to do same, which would be very disadvantageous to us in the obvious future if AfCTA becomes operational. Yeah, we have the headquarters but we will lose in the agriculture subsector if we do not use weights and measures to market agricultural produce”, said Mr. Yaotse.
He disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Techiman to share the success and learnings of a 42 months Partnership for Accelerated Local Economic Development project. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to promoting local economic development and job creation in the Bono regions through agricultural and agribusiness development while enhancing accountability and transparency in local governance.
The project targets at least 10,000 smallholder farmers (cassava, maize and cashew), 500 agro processors, 25 small and medium agribusinesses and 25 personnel of implementing District Assemblies. In line with this and with funding from the European Union, ElectricAid and other Charities in the United Kingdom, United Purpose is implementing the Partnership for Accelerated Local Economic Development project in the Bono regions with Social Development and Improvement Agency (SODIA), Kintampo South District Assembly, Wenchi Municipal Assembly, Nkoranza North District Assembly and Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly.
At least 10,000 Smallholder farmers, 500 Agro-Processors, 10 Micro and Small Agribusiness, 25 Personnel, MMDAs were targeted. In the end the project served 11,910 Smallholder farmers, 587 Agro-Processors, 10 Micro and Small Agribusiness, 48 Personnel, MMDAs and 75,000 indirect beneficiaries in 4 MMDAs, 91 Communities. The focus crops were maize, cassava and cashew.
The project also established four (4)agribusiness centres (aggregation and drying units), and three (3) dry season micro irrigation schemes.
Mr Adams Alhassan, Kranka said “I increased yield from 0.8MT on the 2 acres to2.25MT on an acre after application of knowledge and skills gained on the BALED project.The increase in yield also boosted my income which enabled me to cater for my household needs”.
Mr Musah Yeboah is a 65 year old smallholder farmer resident at Bodom in the Nkoranza North District. He has a household size of 8. “I used to cultivate 3 acres of maize every year with average yield per acre of 6-7. When I began practicing the new methods, I have seen improvement in yield and income. In 2019, I harvested 54 bags of maize on the same 3 acres of land’’.
“I am Mable Asare, a female entrepreneur in Ayerede Nkoranza South. I am among a household of 7. I am 24years of age. My desire to start a business led me to the Business Advisory Centre in my district to solicit for support to start my beekeeping business. By the help of the BAC officer, I was able to partake in a business plan preparation training organized by United Purpose. The knowledge gained helped me to put together a business plan which won the heart of investors affiliate to BALED project to come to my aid.”
” I have been assisted with 5 beehives, 1 harvesting working gear, hand gloves, 5 bee stands, 2 catchers, bee wax and free consultancy on how to manage the business.”