10,000 farmers get $6m support

ABOUT 10,000 farmers in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zones are to benefit from a six million dollar agricultural value chain capacity building programme.

The programme seeks to build the capacities of the beneficiary farmers from the Upper East, Upper West, and the northern parts of the Brong-Ahafo and Volta regions, to transform them into viable agro-business cooperative organisations to increase agriculture productivity and improve their incomes.

The farmer-based organisation capacity building project will also seek to rehabilitate the Kumasi Co-operative College, to become a centre of excellence for the training of trainers to improve farmer co-operative organisations in Ghana, as a catalyst for development.

The programme which is under a design stage, is being funded by the Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KIOCA) to be implemented between 2016-2019.

The implementing agencies are the Ministries of Food, Agriculture and Employment and Labour, and is intended to help Ghana in realising the targets under the Sustainable Development Goals, the successor global agenda to the Millennium Development Goals that comes to close by the end of the year.

As part of the preparatory work, the KOICA, in collaboration with the implementing ministries, yesterday organised a Saemaul Farmers Co-operative workshop for stakeholders, under the theme, “Revitalising farmers’ cooperatives: Sharing Korean Experience with Ghana”.

The Saemual Undong (SMU) is the Korean version of farmer-based organisation which has gained global currency and become a strategy for accelerated rural development which is being shared by Korea with her partner countries.

The curriculum of all agricultural training institutions in the country, would be reviewed to incorporate the concept of SMU and agricultural extension officers would be equipped with the skills for transfer to farmers through extension services.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Employment and -Labour Relations, Sammy-Longman Attakumah, said co-operative organisations in Ghana had been “at the lowest ebb” and that there was the need to repackage and redefine the principles to revitalize the concept for sustainable development in the country.

To this end, Mr Attakumah said a draft National Co-operative Policy had been prepared and ready to be submitted to Cabinet for approval, adding that the Co-operative Bill was also being finalised, for onward transmission to Parliament for consideration.

He said there was the need to develop a legislative framework to boost the co-operative movement, which were fragmented in the country, explaining that the emergence of cooperative organisations in key sectors of the economy are needed to “ride on a back of a legal basis.”

The Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Woonki Lyeo, said Korea would like to share with Ghana its experience in the agricultural industry, through the SMU, to help Ghana utilise the full potential of the agricultural sector into real value for wealth creation.

He said in 1971, the government of Korea, under the visionary leadership of the then President Park Chung Hee, initiated the SMU movement to modernise the rural areas in South Korea, adding that “Korean government inspired farmers to have strong ownership and commit themselves to expand collective labour and resources for better living”.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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