AFive-year development programme dubbed “Multi-Year Assistance Programme” (MYAP), has been held for farmers at Watro, a farming community in the Atebubu/Amantin District in Brong Ahafo.
The programme is aimed at increasing the productivity and production of farmers through improved skills to fight poverty and ensure food security in four selected districts in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions
In all, 55 farmers groups in 48 farming communities in the four selected districts - Sene, Pru, Atebubu-Amantin districts in Brong Ahafo and East Gonja in the Northern Region benefited from the programme implemented by TechnoServe, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
During the programme, which began in 2005 and ended in December, this year, 325 tonnes of a capacity warehouse with 224 metre square drying patio each were constructed in 18 communities of the four beneficiary districts.
Twelve multi -crop- demonstration farms were also established in 12 separate communities in the four beneficiary districts for 10,000 farmers.
About 1,200 farmers were also provided with farm inputs, grains ranging from improved seeds, garden lines and fertilisers among others to increase their yields.
Three hundred and thirty three adults learners, mostly women were also supported during the programme to undertake functional literacy numeric lessons.
Communities with acute water problems were provided with boreholes and rain harvesting facilities to address the problem of water-borne diseases.
At the durbar, Mr Theophilus Adjei, the acting Senior Programme Adviser to TechnoServe, said the objectives of the programme were to increase the incomes of the beneficiaries through enhanced agricultural marketing and strengthen the capacity of local organisation to carry out food security interventions at the community levels.
He said the beneficiaries of the programme were also trained in post-harvest activities and inventory credit through TechnoServe “trainers” workshops and the formation of farmers associations.
The programme greatly improved the quality of life of the farmers who had been introduced to new improved methodologies as well as the provision of infrastructure.
Mr Adjei stated further that farmers in the beneficiary districts had understood the need for business planning and management of their costs to ensure increased profits while they had been encouraged to deposit monthly savings in the group’s bank accounts and stock warehouse.
To ensure the sustainability of the gains made, he said, TechnoServe, through USAID, would provide the Department of Co-operatives, a government agency, with the needed logistics to continue with the project and assist the farmers to apply what they had learnt for their mutual benefit.
Mr Adjei commended the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Crop Research Institute, Department of Co-operatives, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education and other NGOs for their support to meet the MYAP objectives.
On behalf of the beneficiaries, the District Chief Executive for Atebubu-Amantin, Mr Sanja Nanja, praised TechnoServe and its collaborators for supporting the farmers in the past years to improve their production, increase their incomes and also ensure food security.
He said TecnoServe would be remembered by the assembly as one of the most cherished development partners in the four beneficiary districts and pledged the collaboration of the assemblies to the Department of Co-operatives to ensure the sustainability of the programme.