PThree technical farm institutes in the country are to benefit from a GH₵500,000 grant from the Skills Development Fund (SDF) for the designing of a greenhouse industry training curriculum
They include the Adidome Farm Institute in the Volta Region, Asuansi Farm Institute in the Central Region and the Wenchi Farm Institute in the Bono Region.
The curriculum, according to Ebenezer Ato Simpson, Fund Manager, would ensure that Ghanaians undergo the required training in greenhouse management and operation to improve farm yields and productivity.
He was speaking to Ghanaian Times on Tuesday on the sidelines of an inspection tour by the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tove Degnbol, at Daily Farm Limited, Dawhenya near Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
The company received a GH₵300,000 grant in November last year from the SDF, which is funded by the governments of Ghana and Denmark, to engage a training institution from Kenya to, among others, offer training in modern greenhouse farming technologies to address both yield deficiencies and quality issues.
Since the grant-supported training project started, yields have increased for all the crops under cultivation including tomatoes from 3.8kg per plant to over 10kg per plant, cucumber from 3.2kg per plant to 11kg per plant and bell pepper from 3.5kg per plant to 9kg per plant.
When the curriculum is developed and operationalised, Mr Simpson said, the country would be assured of available technical expertise at all levels in greenhouse vegetable production which would result in access to training services at affordable prices than the hiring of expatriate training firms.
Additionally, it would ensure improvement of farm yields to make existing greenhouse farming operations viable and investments profitable and thus opening opportunities to new market entrants, he noted.
Further to that, the increase in productivity would help in reducing the volume of imported vegetables and ensure more opportunities for employment at the 1000 greenhouse farms which would be developed by government across the country due to the available pool of technical expertise.
On her part, Ms Degnbol said that the Danish government was committed to support government’s efforts through the SDF in improving vegetable production and yields to create job opportunities and improve livelihoods.
She was particularly impressed with operation of the greenhouse farms which takes into account environmental care and protection of human life and safety and urged for resuscitation of more greenhouse farms for increased production of vegetables in the country.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS