An European Union (EU)-funded agricultural project, Research for Development and Innovation Agriculture and Learning (ReDIAL), aimed at contributing to the transformation and innovation in agriculture and food systems in Ghana, has been launched here in Akyawkrom in the Ashanti Region.
The project is meant to make the use of sticks by farmers to manually thresh grains and cereals a thing of the past with the introduction of a multi-purpose threshing machine manufactured by SayTECH, a local manufacturing company.
About 10,000 farmers (6,000 males and 4,000 females) would benefit from the four-year project (running from July 2020 to June 2024).
The 2.1 million euro project, under the auspices of the EU, is being implemented in Ghana by a consortium of three partners, comprising two non-governmental organisations- Friends of Nation (FoN), the lead, and Tropenbos Ghana (TBG) – and the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (FRNR-KNUST).
Mr Donors Medusa, Executive Director, FoN, Redial, indicated that the EU was pumping 2 million Euros into the project while the other partners would be contributing the rest of the amount.
He said the project would specifically foster innovation in improving soil fertility in Ghana by generating scientific knowledge and data while applying innovative technology to improve threshing of grains and cereals.
According to the Executive Director, the project had been designed to play a significant role in the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Job’ initiative and would involve small-scale farmers and stakeholders such as the districts assemblies, to address post-harvest losses.
The project, he said, would also support marginalised cereal, grains, cocoa and vegetable farmers and optimise their livelihood, and called on all stakeholders to support the project for it to succeed.
Professor Okatakyie Amenfi VII, Paramount Chief of Asebu Traditional Area, and Senior Lecturer at KNUST, who chaired the function, underscored the importance of the project and told the stakeholders it was a call to national duty and that “they cannot fail mother Ghana with the implementation of the project”.
Launching it, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Rev. John Amoah, said the project was very relevant as it sought to identify and promote technologies for scaling up contribution to agricultural transformation.
Rev. Amoah said he was happy that the project would really create jobs for the youth and appealed to stakeholders to be keen on it.
Professor Boateng Kyere, Dean of the Department of FRNR-KNUST, indicated their determination to ensure the project worked to the maximum for the betterment of the nation.
About 50 farmers from Techiman, Ejura, Asante Mampong, Ejisu and other places were part of the launch and most of them could not hide their feelings about the introduction of the threshing machine, saying they were hopeful that it would help enhance their yield.
The project is being implemented in five places, namely Yendi, in the Northern Region; Sekyeredumasi, in Ashanti; Techiman in the Bono East; Donkorkrom in Eastern and Sefwi Wiawso, in Western.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, AKYAWKROM