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Business - November 21, 2020

Farmers benefit from COVID-19 response under TAAT programme

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Mr. Felix Ngmenkaara Darimaani, National Program Coordinator of the Savannah Regional Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP), said that more than 20,000 small farmers have been supported to plant approximately 38,000 hectares of corn and soybeans.

He said that in accordance with the plan’s COVID-19 response strategy, 15,000 farmers are also supported to plant 12,000 hectares of rice, adding that 3,600 hectares of which are located in Builsa South, Upper East Side.

Mr. Darimaani addressed farmers, purchasers, processors, policy makers and implementers at a market access seminar in Fombes, the capital of Southern Builsa during COVID-19. He said that in the case of COVID-19, Importing rice will be a challenge.

“Therefore, the government has formulated a strategy to develop rice production, and we have the potential. The project is procuring processing facilities to increase the value of the rice produced.”

He said that value chain infrastructure plays a key role in agriculture, so this kind of intervention is needed.

Mr. Darimaani said that the African Agricultural Transformation Technology (TAAT) program is part of SAPIP and the Savannah Investment Program (SIP), which is implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

These projects are funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The overall goal of the program is to reduce the import of animal protein, enhance the competitiveness of the poultry industry, improve the breed of ruminants, and help improve food and nutrition security.

Mr. Sylvan Dauda Danaa, Director of Builsa Southern District of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), said that with the support of SAPIP, MoFA in the district has acquired more than 50 agglomerators.

“Therefore, you will realize that this year, we have more production in terms of land area than last year, but you don’t know much about the hustle and bustle of last year, because many gatherers have come.”

He said that there are buyers of their products in Silicon Valley. He added: “We are looking for sustainable marketing methods to connect farmers to the value chain.”

Mr. Danaa said that with the support of SAPIP and SIP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will create a database to ensure synergy among farmers, aggregators, processors and market traders.

Mr. Richard Akuka, a farmer of Fumbis Rice, said that through SAPIP, farmers have obtained seeds and fertilizers, which supports them to increase production.

He said that although most of the buyers from the southern part of the country have also improved their product market, they cannot buy all the rice. “We still need the processor Avanash to buy.”

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