Agric Sector Stakeholders Advocate for Organic Farming

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The final National Dissemination and Policy workshop on productivity, profitability and sustainability of organic farming in Ghana has taken place in Accra with a call on policy makers to play active and lead roles in the acceptance and expansion agenda for organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological process, biodiversity and cycles and also adapts to local conditions rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.

Professor Wole Fatunbi of ProEco Nac-FARA, a partner to the intervention made the call in his remarks to other key partners and stakeholders comprising the media, some regional directors of the department of agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the academia including the University of Ghana and agro-centered organisations. The workshop was under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its leading partner, ProEco Africa. He noted that, organic agriculture was not coming on a “silver platter” to meet all the food and feeding needs of Ghana but that, it presented a very important complement which cannot be done without. 

ProEco Africa’s intervention carried out in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, began in 2013 and assessed the productivity and profitability of selected organically produced plantation crops and vegetables in comparison with those produced through conventional methods. For instance in Ghana, the focus was on cocoa and vegetables whilst Kenya’s focus was on Macadamia nuts, mango and vegetables.

The Professor further observed that, organic farming unlike conventional farming, had the power and unique potential to help sustain the natural resource base of the country while feeding the population with quality organic foods devoid of dangerous chemical deposits. For this reason, he charged government and other critical stakeholders to institute deliberate policies and programmes to scale up organic farming in Ghana.

He also urged the researchers and country teams to share their findings and data with the international community in order to further the cause and to propagate the ideals of organic farming and its related benefits. Meanwhile, he entreated government to ensure a premium price for organic farmers so as to enable them break even as it is quite an expensive enterprise for the farmer folk.   

The Team Leader of the ProEco-OFSA Project at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mrs. Emelia Monney in her welcome address earlier, stated that the dissemination workshop marked the official closing of the project. She commended the researchers, project partners and farmers captured during the project for their singular and collective efforts that exposed important information to parties for appropriate decision taking in order to better the lot of farmers.

Mrs. Monney noted, “partnerships have been built among a whole lot of institutions, orgainsations and individuals and tremendous lessons have been learnt. I can say that, we are not the same people we were when it all begun”.

Meanwhile the Ministry’s Director of Crop Services, Mr. Seth Osei-Akoto disclosed in his speech that, the Ministry will always demonstrate commitment to the promotion of Ecological Organic Agriculture as his outfit working through the Organic Desk, continues to provide the needed facilitation for the industry. He said over the years, the Desk had worked with various collaborators to promote the subsector, build capacities of actors including farmers and extension officers in good ecological organic agricultural practices.

Mr. Osei-Akoto mentioned with delight that, amongst the Desk’s achievements was its successful hosting of the 5th West African Organic Conference in Ghana in the recent past – an event which created more network and exposure for the organic fraternity within the subregion and abroad. Additionally, the Desk also collaborated effectively with the private sector which led to the successful launch of the Participatory Guarantee System [PGS] certification. This is a quality assurance system set up to guarantee organic produce for the domestic market and which has subsequently, opened investment opportunities and related issues requiring policy attention.

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