Municipal and district assemblies have been urged to set up livelihood and business opportunities for smallholder farmers, especially in the area of agroforestry, to aid the government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme (PERD).
Mr Klutse Kudomor, the National Programme Coordinator of the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP), also urged the Assemblies to support the commercialisation of seedlings and nursery projects established under the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme interventions.
He said GASIP expected municipal and district assemblies and other stakeholders to make its assisted seedlings and nurseries projects established in selected communities their first point of call for seedling purchases to help fight the menace of climate-related risk in the communities.
The agroforestry intervention, for example, was aligned with the government’s flagship PERD programme, which sought to increase and diversify Ghana’s tree crop production and export potential.
Mr Kudomor said this in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso, Climate Change Adaptation Manager, during the handing over of the GASIP agroforestry seedlings and nursery project to the Jirapa Municipal Assembly.
The project trained farmers who could deploy grafting in seedlings production to support the protection of the environment and also enable them to set up businesses in seedling production as well as in commercial tree crop farming.
The National Programme Coordinator of GASIP urged stakeholders to take the project seriously to ensure that smallholder farmers were not left out in the revenues to be made in the private sector in tree crop production.
“This will motive our communities to produce more seedlings and also drive their interest in protecting the environment against climate change”, he said.
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Mr Kudomor announced that more than 400,000 cashew seedlings were raised by 40 nurseries and sold to the “Green Ghana Day Celebration Agenda” and some private individuals also bought them for their plantation farms.
He said GASIP was a major contributor to national efforts at combating land degradation and desertification due to wanton felling of trees without replacement, irresponsible and uncontrolled bush burning and deploying farming systems and practices, which were unsustainable.
These activities, he said, led to a decline in soil fertility, biodiversity losses and reduction in relevant tree population, and crop yields for the farmers and water bodies and with negative consequences on the socioeconomic lives of the people, especially the smallholder farmer.
Mr Kudomor said GASIP’s effort was contributing to reducing poverty in rural areas of the country with the development objective of enhancing the profitability and climate change resilience of agribusinesses for smallholder farmers.
Six trained grafters and nursery practitioners from Sobariyiri, Sawale and Kontogleyiri in the Jirapa Municipality were presented with certificates.