“Voice from the Field - Ghana”
“SAFE program helping communities engage in value-chain oriented, improved agricultural practices.”
Robert Koomson is a farmer from the Krofu Agro processors Association, located in Krofu,Mfantsiman Municipal District, Central Region of Ghana. Elisabeth Utuka is also from the central region and from the Theomark Enterprise, situated in Assin Edubiase. The two farmers were in attendance atthe West Africa Regional Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) Stakeholder Workshop, held in Accra, Ghana.
“They are invited to the workshop because they are first stakeholders. Our Supervised Ente rprise Projects (SEPs) students
work with them. This forum is one that the experiences are put in perspective so that we can see what the farmers are doing is not in isolation.All the work we do isassist the farmers, and in turn the farmers are very useful to us, especially during the SEPs, so we needed to bring them here so that they tell their storieshow the program has helped them, how they see our students doing their SEPs, what can they do to improve and assist us in the SAFE program to improve, and what they can also contribute as stakeholders for the sustainability and strategy of the program”, according to Dr. Festus Annor-Frempong, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, School of Agriculture, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at the University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana.
Elisabeth Utuka explained briefly about her farming life, saying: “We plant cassava over two acres of land and process it into Garri (a popular West African food made from cassava). We sow maize (two acres),and rice (Five acres) too. We also own six acres of palm nuts destined for palm oil production by our cooperative consisting eight farmers. So we basically combine the farming and the processing.”
Robert Koomson, who is also secretary of the 30 members Krofu Agro processors Association,on his part said: “I came here to attend the SAFE regional workshop as a stakeholder, and as beneficiary of the SAFE funding, beinginvited by the School of Agriculture of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Cape Coast. SAFE gave us assistance to rebuild our solar dryers specifically, as well as fix and strengthen our cottage industry in general. We process the produce that we cultivatein the 31 acres as cassava and maize into products like Garri, and high-quality cassava flour; and on the maize aspect, we process quality flour for the production of popular Ghanaian staple foods such as Fante Kenkey and Ga Kenkey. The student researchers in the SAFE program came to our community to help us improve and engage in value-chain oriented agricultural practices, and quality processing and packaging of our produces for sale. All our activities are very promising financially. We have also taken another workshop in our district on group saving.”