Vegetable producers learn new skills

Vegetable producers and exporters have attended a workshop on the Evirodome Greenhouse Technology.

It was aimed at equipping participants with the requisite knowledge to improve safe and healthy vegetable production in Ghana.

The specific objectives of this workshop were to train participants on how to increase the production of safe and healthy vegetables, avoid pest and diseases as they occur at the open field, extend shelf life of produce, provide safe and healthy food for the customer and increase the productivity and profitability of their farm business.

The three-day workshop, which was held in collaboration with the Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre (FOHCREC, Kade) of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS), UG, was attended by vegetable producers and exporters from across the country.

Professor Eric Y. Danquah, Director of WACCI, said Ghana could not achieve middle-income status if agriculture was not transformed.

He made references to Brazil, Malaysia and South Korea where governmental support had made it possible for the transformation of agriculture for huge productivity gains.

Prof Danquah said improved varieties with inbuilt resilience together with production packages were needed urgently in farmers’ fields to boost the production of the crops that feed the people of Ghana.

He said WACCI together with strategic partners along the food production value chain have launched a vegetable innovation lab to address the challenges faced by vegetable farmers and hoped that with government support, Ghana would be self-sufficient in quality vegetables in a few years.

Prof George O. Nkansah, one of the facilitators of the workshop, said the greenhouse technology makes use of unproductive land and is effective for the control of pests thereby giving yields as high as 200 t/ha annually.

He said crops produced under this system are healthier and safer than those cultivated under open field systems.

He said about $3,000 was needed as startup capital, but the investment could be recouped within three years, because some crops reach full maturity under the greenhouse system in 17 days. The greenhouse is durable and can last up to 15 years requiring maintenance once every three years.

The participants were taken through modules on plant biology, specialised growing techniques for greenhouse vegetable production, pest, insects and disease identification in greenhouses.

Other areas are organic fertiliser application, sensory analysis for farm produce, farming as a business, techniques for marketing agricultural produce, record keeping in farm business and sources of funding for farm business.




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