Accra, Ghana: 3rd May, 2012: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) today launched the Farmer Organizations Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA), a new initiative meant to provide support to Farmer Organizations (FOs) in the country and Africa as a whole. The program is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
Speaking at the launch, Ghana’s acting Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Mike Hammer said: “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the attainment of food security, as well as the promotion of good health and environmental sustainability in almost all Sub-Saharan African economies. A viable and sustainable economic development can only be achieved through the transformation and modernization of the agricultural sector.”
“It is heart-warming that AGRA is also coming on board to support our efforts to develop farmer organizations. We are delighted that AGRA has provided seed money for 1,700 input dealers in the Northern and Ashanti Regions of Ghana and is collaborating with other partners to improve upon agricultural development in the northern region,” he added.
“The new initiative aims to strengthen the managerial, organizational and technical capacity of Farmer Organizations with the aim of transforming them to provide demand-driven and income enhancing services to their members,” said Dr. David Ameyaw, AGRA’s Director for Monitoring and Evaluation. “FOSCA’s strategic objective is to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes and thus improve their livelihoods through effective and efficient FOs that delivers on the needs of their members. “
Mr. Fadel Ndiame, Lead Coordinator of FOSCA said: “We want to better understand the needs of our members and be in a position to provide them with the best. It is with this mindset that FOSCA has now come into fruition as a supporting program in AGRA. We hope that Farmer Organizations all over the country and in Africa will support this initiative and be open as we need their support to make this initiative a success”.
“The potential of agriculture in this country and Africa has not been fully realized and we have the opportunity and capacity to reach its full potential. It is therefore necessary that we approach it with the right tools and resources,” he added.
FOSCA will work directly with communities to ensure that farmers are the direct beneficiaries. With most farming practices stemming from experience, FOSCA hopes to document the practises and build on the knowledge base of the Farmer Organizations thereby finding more efficient and better alternatives to them. The program hopes to reach 220,000 smallholder farmers with income and production improvements services to improve the capacities of at least 70 Farmer Organizations.
The event was attended by a cross-section of farmer organizations from across Africa including Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, and the host Ghana. Representatives of FOSCA’s development partners like BMGF, Swedish Cooperation, Rockefeller Foundation and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) also attended the launch at the sprawling Fiesta Royale Hotel.