UESD, partners disseminate market information on maize and rice

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Participants at the Regional seminar on maize and rice under the IGC/IDACA survey held at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, (UESD) Somanya.
Participants at the Regional seminar on maize and rice under the IGC/IDACA survey held at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, (UESD) Somanya.

The University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), in collaboration with two other institutions, has organized a two-day regional seminar aimed at providing valuable insights for agricultural value chain actors.

Participants at the Regional seminar on maize and rice under the IGC/IDACA survey held at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, (UESD) Somanya.
Participants at the Regional seminar on maize and rice under the IGC/IDACA survey held at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, (UESD) Somanya.

The partner institutions included the International Grains Council (IGC) and the Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia (IDCA).

The seminar held at the UESD, Somanya, attracted a diverse range of professionals from various sectors of the agricultural value chain, including farmers, retailers, policymakers, consumers, and researchers.

Additionally, representatives of the North West Cooperative Association Limited, Cameroon, the Pan African Farmers Organisation, Nigeria, and the Agriculture Intra-regional Trade and Transport, Sahel, and West Africa were present at the meeting.

The primary focus of the seminar was to disseminate crucial market information regarding maize and rice, which are essential components of the agricultural sector.

It facilitated a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the agriculture value chain and encouraged collaboration among industry players to develop strategies that would enhance policy-making and promote market transparency.

It also helped participants identify the challenges and opportunities in the agriculture value chain and devise strategies that would strengthen policies and improve market transparency.

In his speech, Mr. Hirofumi Kabayashi, Executive Director of IDACA, said the workshop aimed to conduct a survey as well as collect market information on maize and rice to help identify the challenges and opportunities and put in place measures that will strengthen policies and improve market transparency.

“If participants provide accurate information and recommendations to implement the necessary measures, farmers’ livelihoods will be improved,” he said.

Dr. Gideon E. Onumah, Agricultural Economist/Rural Finance Specialist, University of Greenwich, gave a presentation on “the role of grains in Assuring Food Security in Ghana and West Africa: challenges and possible solutions.”

He said the contribution of cereals/grains to calorific (energy) intake in Ghana was about 28 per cent and had similar levels in West Africa, but the average in Eastern and Southern Africa is over 50 per cent.

He mentioned some interconnected risks in Ghana and Africa’s agriculture, such as weather risks, crop and livestock pests and diseases, market risks, and a lack of a supportive regulatory framework for risk management tools.

Thus, he said, there was a need to transform public service delivery to the agriculture sector, and cited that extension services from “techpush” to joint learning could address existing or new challenges.

And that market information service—not just reporting frequently asked questions, but information for effective decision-making was equally important in that direction.

He said a well-structured or formalised trading system, including access to finance at postharvest and pre-harvest, could also address some of these challenges.

Mr. Yosuke Ota, Special Advisor, IDACA, said the IGC-IDACA survey on grain market information in Asia, Oceania, and Africa started in May 2023 with funding from the Government of Japan, 2023 G7 Presidency.

He said securing market transparency through ensuring accurate information helped reduce the risk of food security crises and malnutrition at the national and regional level.

That, partnerships among universities, research institutes, non-governmental organisations, and regional cooperation would enhance the transparency of the market.

Professor Eric Nyarko Sampson, the Vice-Chancellor of UESD, said, “it is important to bring discussions on grains to the forefront so we commit attention to the whole process from beginning to end, including when it gets to the consumer.”

The University of Environment and Sustainable Development, along with its partners, remains committed to fostering a sustainable and thriving agricultural sector.

At the end of the meeting, the participants went on a field trip to the Asutuare rice production area in Shai Osudoku District.

By Emelia B. Addae

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