Government to integrate Akilimo in e-extension system

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Government would soon begin the process to integrate Akilimo, an agronomic advisory service for smallholder farmers. in its e-extension system.

The move would help boost yields of small holder famers, especially those in the cassava value chain.

Mr. Patrick Robert Ankobia, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) made this known in a speech read for him at a partnership meeting on the rollout of the Akilimo project in Ghana.

The Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence (GCCE) would be leading the implementation of Akilimo project in Ghana with partners including MoFA.

Akilimo is an agricultural plan by the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative by the OneCGlAR and its partners and led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.

It provides tailored recommendations on fertilizer use, tillage, weed control, planting practices, intercropping and planting/harvest dates for cassava smallholders.

Mr Ankobia indicated that a draft e-Agriculture Policy, which would be a one-stop-shop solution for resilient agriculture using improved technology and emerging digitization revolution would soon be outdoored.

He said significant improvement in the productivity of the agriculture sector was required to raise average real incomes and facilitate the attainment of at least five of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The Chief Director said that cassava was amongst the priority crops being promoted by the government because it was a major contributor to Agriculture gross domestic product.

Dr Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer, of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) said the implementation of Akilimo would create awareness and transform the cassava sector into a major foreign exchange earner and a major source of employment for the youth and Ghanaian entrepreneurs as a whole.

She said GEPA recently launched National Export Development Strategy aimed at generating US$25.3 billion in Non-traditional Export revenues by the year 2029.

Dr Asare said cassava had a greater potential for self-sufficiency with the infusion of technology in the production system.

“Although Ghana in recent times has produced huge volumes of cassava with an estimated quantity of 22 million metric tons in 2019, exports of cassava derivatives including cassava starch in the same year was less than US$ 9,000,” she said.

Dr Asare noted that with a global demand of about US$1.78 billion in 2019, cassava starch was one of the key products that Ghana could concentrate on to boost its export revenues.

She said GEPA was ready to support all cassava stakeholders under the Akilimo initiative to derive maximum benefit from the cassava value chain.

Mr William Agyei-Manu, the Executive Directive of GCCE said the project would work with 1.2 million actors in the value chain in 10 regions.

He said the next step of the project implementation was a trainer of trainer’s capacity building in mid-November to ensure a step-down training for farmers.

“It is a new initiative to we are conducting stakeholder engagement for partners like input dealers and tractor service providers to understand the project to facilitate application and adoption,” he said.

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