Project to boost maize, cocoa production underway

Maize Farmers

The Centre for Innovation and Technology Dissemination (CITED) of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR)-Ghana, is spearheading a project to boost production of cocoa and maize in the country.

The project is coded, “Strengthening Innovations and Technology Dissemination for Sustainable Development in Cereals, Cocoa and Coffee Value Chains in Western and Eastern Africa,” (SATTIFS) and is on-going in Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia simultaneously.

Commenced in January 2014, it is expected to end in December 2016, and will, among other activities, build capacity of stakeholders in the agricultural sector on employing correct innovations and technologies in increasing yield in those crops.

Currently, the project is being implemented in over 20 communities in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions, and as a foundation, the Centre conducted a baseline study in June, to provide an inventory of existing and potentially exploitable knowledge and technologies on the production of cocoa and maize in those areas.

Presenting the baseline report to stakeholders at two separate workshops at Nkoranza and Goaso respectively, Dr Phyllis Opare, Operations Assistant for CITED, outlined some key technologies available to farmers, but never used them to boost cocoa and maize production.

She mentioned that to further equip the maize farmers, the CITED office would establish a demonstration farm for some selected farmers in Techiman, Nkoranza, Goaso and Wenchi for joint learning of appropriate technologies involved in maize and cocoa production.

Dr Opare said through the project, SATTIFS would also facilitate the establishment of a cocoa nursery in Goaso to train and distribute seedlings to farmers who were ready to plant newly improved variety of cocoa.

Professor Daniel Obeng-Ofori, Coordinator of CITED, envisaged that after the three-year project, farmers would be equipped through demonstrations and farmer field schools, to use some of the proven technologies in their farming enterprises.

He said the Centre would rehabilitate old cocoa farms for farmers who would be willing to cut down the old unproductive trees, urging that they should take maximum advantage of the project to increase production of the two crops.

The project being carried out in the three nations, aims at building capacity in science, technology, and innovation in the production of maize, rice, cocoa and coffee within the study regions and to boost food security and socio-economic development.

It is under the supervision of the Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Cooperation Programme.

source : GNA