From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani
The Bono Regional Director for Agriculture, Mr. Richard Donkor, has interacted with mango and chilli pepper value chain actors in Atebubu.
The meeting was for the regional director to have first-hand information on the activities and challenges facing the various groups under the German Technical Cooperation GIZ – Market Oriented Agriculture Production Programme.
The Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. George Amanyo and the Bono Regional value chain Officer of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Dela Newman, led the groups, namely – the pruning gangs, mango farmers, mango traders, chilli pepper farmers, agro input dealers, the innovative platform and extension officers to brief the regional director on their activities and issues hindering their progress.
The Atebubu chief farmer, Mr. Amadu Kwasi Addo, noted that activities of Fulani herdsmen remain a very serious worry to farmers whiles the lack of standardised measurements for produce like rice and maize is affecting them.
Kwasi Addo also touched on the annual glut in the production of water melons and garden eggs which are produced on a massive scale in the municipality which results in low prices to the detriment of farmers.
Responding to issues raised by the various groups, Mr. Donkor urged farmers to form groups in order to have a united front and as such a better bargaining power in their dealings with buyers.
He said if neighboring Ejura-Sekyidumase has instituted measures to enable their farmers obtain good deals from buyers, then the same can be replicated in the Atebubu-Amantin municipality.
Although Mr. Donkor conceded that chemicals for the control of the Bacteria Black Spot mango disease are expensive, he maintained that their application ensures good yields which turn out to be profitable.
He urged chilli pepper farmers to continue to adopt green label practices, which involve the use of only organic materials like animal dropping for cultivation adding that this will guarantee them ready markets for their produce.
The regional director said that government under the ‘One District One Factory’ initiative is increasing the production capacity of E.K AGYEI, a pepper processor at Abesim in the Bono region saying this represents a big boost for the chilli pepper market.
He announced that the municipality will benefit from one of ten proposed Agriculture Mechanisation Service Centers (AMSEC) earmarked for the region.