Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) in the Upper West, Savannah and North East regions have been trained in cashew farming and cultivation of its plantation at Wa in the Upper West Region.
The 14 agents were taken through a two-day capacity building workshop by the Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit/ Competitive Cashew Initiative (GIZ-ComCashew) in collaboration with the Resilience Against Climate Change (EU-REACH) project on the use of a technique called ‘topworking’ in cashew farming.
The training sought to increase the knowledge base of extension agents in cashew plantation in line with the government’s flagship project ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD)’ with the aim of expanding agro-forestry in the North-western belt of Ghana through cashew cultivation.
Addressing the agents on Monday at Wa, the Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Yeboah, explained that “top-working” involved the selection of unproductive trees, cutting of selected trees, and painting of the cut surface and the stump with leaves and branches to facilitate the initiation of new shoots.
He said the AEAs would play an integral role in the cashew farming as they would serve as the only means where most farmers would get the needed information to improve their farming practices.
“We have 11 AEAs from all the district assemblies in the Upper West, one AEA each from the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba and North Gonja, both in Savannah Region, as well as one from Manprugu Moagduri in the North East Region,” he said.
Mr Yeboah stated that the AEAs would be given the opportunity to build and enhance their capacity and knowledge in the techniques of “top-working” in all project regions.
The Director said the few farmers who ventured into cashew farming did not get good yield as a result of the little attention they attached to the cash crop, saying with assistance from the AEAs, the farmers would be able to gain the needed knowledge to improve productivity.
He charged the extension agents to encourage other farmers to include cashew in their annual and perennial crops in order to generate substantive income from their vocation in all seasons.
The Technical Advisor for REACH, Mr Prosper Wie, explained that REACH, as part of its operational mandate, focused mainly on projecting agro-forestry.
He indicated that a research was done on mango and cashew plantations within the North-west zone and the results showed that the two plants had been significantly unproductive.
“For this reason, it became necessary for extension officers to be trained in how to improve the yield of the cash crops in order for them to also disseminate the information down to the farmers through their extension services,” he added.
FROM RAFIA ABDUL-RAZAK, WA