The Ghana horticultural improvement programme known as the GhanaVeg programme which was implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana between 2014 and 2017, has been transformed into the HortiFresh programme with an even bigger mandate to expand into the West African sub region.
The new programme which was launched on Thursday, the 20th of September at the La Palm Royal Beach Resort in Accra, aims at establishing a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
With the launch of the HortiFresh West Africa programme, Ghana and its neighboring country, Ivory Coast, are to experience a boost in horticultural production and exports where the project aims at reaching out to at least some 15,000 smallholder farmers by the year 2021, with a 20% increase in their productivity.
Presenting the core activities of the new project, the Progamme Manager of HortiFresh, Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah indicated that the programme will provide support for innovative business ideas of small and medium enterprises and the development of strong horticulture clusters in key tomato, onion and mango production areas.
The HortiFresh programme consists of two components: fruits and vegetables. In Ghana, the attention will be given to the fruit and vegetable sectors while focusing on other regional fruit supply chain dimensions in the surrounding countries like Ivory Coast.
The objectives include improving productivity in the vegetable sector; facilitating more efficient markets, including linking vegetable producers and other value chain operators with the Dutch private sector; improving the business climate and further professionalizing the value chain for vegetable production and consumption in Africa.
The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture in charge of the Horticultural sector in Ghana, George Oduro and the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, H. E. Ron Strikker, cut a mango cake to officially launch the programme which will be implemented by a consortium made up of Wageningen University and Research, SNV Ghana, RESILIENCE, Advance Consulting and SENSE in collaboration with the HortiFresh representatives in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
During the launch, a call for concept notes was announced, inviting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to submit innovative business ideas that promote the sustainable uptake of inputs like quality seeds and irrigation equipment. The call also solicits concepts that focus on the provision of agronomic services, like professional spray and extension advisory services.
Source: Clement Akoloh/afriwakeradio.com