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Horticulture in Ghana for a brighter future

In the EU Archipelago Project, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Kwadaso Agricultural College (KAC) in Ghana have teamed up to improve entrepreneurial and horticultural education and create jobs in the horticulture sector.

The partnership is focused at the agricultural college and is supported by the local subcontractor Holland Greentech Ghana (HGT). Kwadaso Agricultural College and Holland Greentech have assembled a strong team including the Projects’ Office and the Horticulture Department at KAC, the Kumasi Business Incubator of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), working together with the regional HGT office in Kumasi and the national office in Accra. By making the education at KAC more practical and innovative, the vision is to turn KAC into a Centre of Excellence for horticulture and an example for other agricultural colleges.

Greenhouses
Most farming in Kumasi is open field while in Accra there is a large interest in greenhouses and protected horticulture. HGT Ghana has expertise in both areas and brings this to the implementation of the partnership.

TU Delft, KAC and KBI have introduced a 4-month training course delivered at KAC with a focus on practical skills in entrepreneurship and horticulture for participants and jobs in the horticultural sector. In the second week of March, 2021, TU Delft formally undertook a training of trainers, and the second iteration of the training program for youth, women and returnee migrants started on March 23, 2021 with the kick-off event 3 days afterwards.

Kwadaso Agricultural College staff, principal & students, with Holland Greentech team and EU consultants at the college in Kwadaso, Kumasi, Ghana.

TU Delft and KAC have subcontracted some part of the project implementation to Holland Greentech, a horticultural company with presence in 10 countries in Africa.

Value chain
The model of Holland Greentech is to develop the entire horticulture value chain. By developing market leverage for farmers, adopting best agronomic practices, supplying heat-, drought and -disease resistant seed varieties, extends shelf-life and gives a high yield, irrigation systems and greenhouses, Holland Greentech creates trust among farmers and a market in the countries where they operate. By making farmers more productive and profitable, this model creates jobs in the horticulture sector.

Specific to the Archipelago Project is the involvement of lead farmers. Holland Greentech and KAC work with lead farmers to supply the lead farmers with the tools for them to succeed. These tools include agronomic best practice training in all growing phases, training on marketing and market access, access to finance, aggregating products to gain market leverage to obtain good pricing for products.

This model is applied by Holland Greentech for each lead farmer. Holland Greentech also carries out trainings and guide development of the horticulture demonstration site at KAC. In this way Holland Greentech has a stake in the success of the entrepreneurial course at KAC but also with the lead farmers who are located outside the college. Students at KAC gain opportunities for internships and jobs at the lead farmers as they upscale from growing season to growing season. The profitability of farmers is thus a critical interest of the company as well as for KAC and other project partners.

HGT delivers a nursery training at KAC demonstration site.

Over the course of the Project, lead farmers upscale from a demonstration site of 500 m2 to 1 to 3 hectares depending on local context and market access. Below is an example of developing a lead farmer, in this case Foster Amankwah in Bosomkyekye, Ashanti Region.

Deborah Anobil Amosah and Collins Adu Safo from Holland Greentech support farmers in Ghana through dissemination of growing techniques, high-quality seeds, irrigation, basic greenhouses and promoting farming as a business.

Extreme weather
“Conditions are becoming more extreme, the climate is changing, and the dry and wet seasons are changing,” says Deborah. “Some areas in the north are becoming arid, while others in the south are faced with heavier and prolonged rainy seasons. A poor harvest can cause problems with food supply, while the population of Ghana is rapidly growing. Supplying Ghana with healthy food in the future will be a challenge. It’s great that providing high-quality vegetable seeds to farmers can help achieve this.” Holland Greentech supplies Rijk Zwaan seeds in Ghana for example.

Rijk Zwaan breeds vegetable varieties that are more resilient and coping better with factors such as drought, disease and pests. A variety that thrives in the Netherlands will probably grow less well in Africa, for example. Rijk Zwaan develops varieties specifically for the various climatic zones in the tropics.

Tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, carrots are all grown in Ghana, mainly on small plots. But how do you further increase the production and incomes of farmers? Through training on agronomic best practices and building leverage in the marketplace.

“Farmers will not adopt new growing techniques or inputs if they cannot see the results with their own eyes” Collins notes. “That is why Holland Greentech sets up demonstration plots with lead farmers and organizes Farmer Field Days in the projects with KAC, TU Delft and KBI.”

From left to right: Grower Solomon, Ministry of Food & Agriculture extension officer Richmond, leadfarmer Clement Owusu, agronomists Collins & Deborah, right grower Frederick, at Offinso North, Ashanti Region, Ghana.

These events are organised to for example tell farmers about irrigation, growing seedlings in small trays, how to spread plastic film over beds, and that spacing may mean that you have fewer plants on an area, but you get far more fruit. Pest and disease management, marketing and growers’ associations are also on the agenda when the team visits the farmers.

Lazarus at lead farmer Foster Amankwah at Bosomkyekye, Ashanti Region. Preparing seed trays for nursery. Rijk Zwaan varieties of hot pepper, cucumber & cabbage.

With improved inputs and services, the yield of growers increases. Next to that, it also contributes to the consistency of production throughout the year. Farmers that make the step to drip irrigation can produce during dry seasons and get a much better price for their products on the market. Simultaneously they contribute to increasing the availability of nutritious vegetables throughout the year.

This creates a commercial business case for African vegetable growers that increases nutrition and is climate-smart. “During the implementation of this project which coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been realized more than ever, the importance of local food supply chains. By accompanying the lead farmers along the way, the project hopes to contribute to local vegetable production in Ghana.

Land preparation and training complete at lead farmer Foster Amankwah in Bosomkyekye, Ashanti Region.

Holland Greentech cannot achieve this without others. They are working closely with partners throughout the value chain that are active in post-harvest, processing and retail to reduce post-harvest losses and help farmers to sell their vegetables for a fair price on the market. According to Deborah, the latter is especially important as “high-quality inputs and increased yield do not mean much to a farmer if his/her produce cannot be sold on the market for a good price”.

Deborah and Collins are confident that the harvest of lead farmers in Ghana will double in value and that the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers will increase while creating job opportunities for many youth, women and returnee migrants through this project.

For more information:
Holland Greentech
maarten@hollandgreentech.com
www.hollandgreentech.com

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Prepared according to https://www.freshplaza.com

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021

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Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.

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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.

yearoverview

Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: info@hortidaily.com 

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