Small holder famers to benefit from mechanized agriculture

John Deere Corporate Citizenship, a United States-based company, is to introduce improved mechanization and skills training to small holder farmers in the Upper East Region.

The company which is partnering Technoserve, a local NGO giving technical support to farmers on Agriculture, would provide entrepreneurial training to small holder farmers to improve crop yields through new technologies.

Mr Geoff Anderson, Director of Business Planning and Strategy of the company, made this known at a dinner with the Upper East Regional Minister, Dr Ephraim Avea Nsoh at the Regional Coordinating Council.

He said the company sought to ensure that farmers across the globe, had access to agricultural mechanization with the introduction of new technologies, adding that the company trains farmers on the kind of crops to grow as business module to increase their revenue levels, while improving crop yields.

He said the company intended to move farmers in Africa, especially the Ghanaian small holder farmers, from just being peasant, to emerging commercial farmers.

Mr Andersen indicated that his outfit was working with another US company, and WaterAid, to provide adequate boreholes in rural farming communities, as part of their humanitarian work to farmers in the country.

According to him, John Deere was partnering with trusted micro finance companies to support small holder farmers, by financing the purchase of tractors on pilot basis to these farmers.

The intervention, he further indicated, would be beneficial to small holder farmers in the Upper East Region, because their crop yields would increase with the use of improved agriculture mechanization.

Mr Samuel Babu Adongo, Deputy Country Director of Technoserve, said his outfit was implementing a Small-Holder Business Development Programme funded by John Deere Foundation, to provide skills training in entrepreneurship to farmers who would be rolled out this year.

Mr Adongo said over 8,000 small-holder farmers in the Upper East Region have been targeted in the Fumbisi valley and parts of the Eastern corridor, to cultivate crops such as, cowpea, soya bean, sorghum and maize, on a large scale.

He said Technoserve has been deeply involved in agribusiness, and improved agricultural productivity and yields in the last 15 years, indicating that one major challenge facing the agricultural sector in the Upper East Region was low yields.

“In the area of maize production, whereas a farmer in southern Ghana could get over four metric tons per hectare, farmers in the region are getting 1.6 metric tons per hectare, which is woefully inadequate,” he said, adding that with the introduction of mechanized agriculture, crop yields would shoot up.

Dr Ephraime Avea Nsoh, Upper East Regional Minister, outlining some government interventions in sustainable agriculture, noted that government together with the United State government had invited applications from commercial farmers under the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP), to ensure that agriculture was done professionally.

He said under the Ghana Social Opportunities Programme (GSOP), some selected dams and dug-outs were being rehabilitated, to improve irrigation farming for sustainable agriculture in the region.

He commended the John Deere institution for the support intended to improve on activities of small holder farmers as they would be introduced to commercial agriculture with improved mechanization to ultimately improve food security in the region. GNA

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