Stakeholders in the horticulture industry want government to take proactive and pragmatic measures to control disease and insect infestations on farms.
In addition, Horti Fresh West Africa wants vegetable and fruit farmers to have access to direct funding to enable them to improve production.
Horti Fresh West Africa has revealed the fruit and vegetable industry has huge prospects to widen the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Programmes Manager, Sheila Assibey-Yeboah, says the government needs to invest more in the horticulture sector by providing adequate research funding to combat pests and diseases.
She was speaking at a closeout ceremony of Horti Fresh West Africa.
“Financing is key, and it’s important to improve access to financing to the sector. Pests and diseases are still prevalent. If you’re giving funds to producers and they have challenges with geographical pests and diseases, then it nullifies everything, so we need research to ensure that we have solutions ready when we encounter pests and diseases. This I believe will improve productivity and minimise losses at the production level,” she revealed.
Horti Fresh West Africa has for the past eight years supported the horticulture sector through increasing the value of exports, both to the EU and to regional markets.
A senior research scientist with the Crops Research Institute, Dr Michael Kwabena Osei, says, “vegetable and fruit farmers need continuous education to sustain the horticulture industry,” he said.
Some institutions in Ghana were selected and trained by Horti Fresh to educate the youth on vegetable and fruit farming.
The Horti Fresh programme was supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, which prioritises commercial agriculture in its strategic plan of moving from trade to aid.
The programme’s mission is to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
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