The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) visited Ghana in order to embark on the integration of AKILIMO in the country. The Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence (GCCE) was the point of contact through which ACAI linked up with existing private, non-profit, and government institutions as well as international NGOs that could integrate AKILIMO into their operations in Ghana. Discussions have been ongoing since 2020 via virtual meetings; physical meetings could not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The field trip was to follow up on these previous interactions and to assess the willingness of the Ghana Cassava Centre of Excellence to integrate AKILIMO into their operations and to improve their relationships with cassava farmers in their networks. The objectives of the meeting were to use the existing map developed to benchmark existing major cassava production areas, to classify interested partners and to identify which of the AKILIMO DSTs or formats are of interest, as well as to check existing opportunities and the environment where partners are working in order to see the alignment of AKILIMO DSTs or formats. The visit also sought to find existing EA structures or commercial interests that could trigger the bundling of AKILIMO with other services to ease the use of AKILIMO and ensure that GCCE can be a point of entry, which can also be used to coordinate all other partners in this on-going initiative.
The field meeting was organized by GCCE and engaged seven institutions in discussions. These institutions are from the eastern, Volta, and central regions. These institutions are Sky 3 Investment Ltd, Asuogyaman Agro Industries and Processing Ltd, Tropical Starch Company Ltd, Caltech Ventures Ltd, Ministry of Foods and Agriculture (MoFA) Kpeve Agric Station, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (Africa Trade House, Accra), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in North Ridge, Accra.
These institutions are private, public, or donor organizations. They are mainly operating in cassava production, processing (Garri, High-Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), Starch and Ethanol), seed multiplication (stem cuttings for high starch yielding varieties – for example, Sika Bankye, Ampong, Amansan, Doku Duade, Duade Kpakpa, AGRA, Otuhia, Broni Bankye, Esam Bankye, Bankye Hemaa, etc.), out-grower schemes, extension services, policy advocacy for digital agriculture and access to finance for cassava production.
In a recent development, ACAI team members (Meklit Chernet, Christine Kreye, and Thompson Ogunsanmi) discussed how GCCE will lead the process of training identified partners in order to accelerate the use of AKILIMO in Ghana. It was also agreed to showcase AKILIMO nationally in the 2021 edition of the national farmers’ day in Ghana.