Cassava Production Training For Farmers
Source Trust is proud to have been able to accompany Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng, the Hershey sustainability representative, as she visited a cassava food crop training session in Ghana this past March. Source Trust shares Hershey’s focus on addressing food security in cocoa-farming communities, a strategy in line with the Cocoa Livelihoods Program II (CLP II) supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Within our established farmer training program on cocoa productivity and through our well-established relationships with cocoa farmers, Source Trust and Hershey have been working to identify diversification options that also improve food security in the farming communities.
With this aim, we conducted a farmer needs assessment that settled on cassava as the best alternative food crop that would supplement diets and be capable of producing a cash income during the cocoa lean season. Cassava has good nutritional potential, and importantly has the ability to grow on the poor soils that predominate some Ghanaian cocoa communities. With these benefits in mind, the cassava program was designed to establish cassava demonstration plots in each of Hershey’s CLPII project districts and encourage farmers registered in CLPII to adopt best practices in this additional food crop production.
On March the 10th, Source Trust accompanied Hershey to their cassava training session in Dunkwa organized to provide first-hand information on cultivating improved varieties of cassava. Farmers from each of the 7 CLPII districts attended. The session was led by two trainers from the office of West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), which is hosted under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana.
The first day of this two day training was conducted as a classroom session where participants discussed issues pertaining to cassava agrosystems, planting techniques, pest and diseases and post-harvest handling and storage. The facilitators led the discussions while farmers shared their experience and knowledge on existing practices.
The second day of the training was conducted in the field on a cassava plot for participants to build their understanding of the practical aspects of the training. This training included discussing the control of identified pest and diseases, demonstrating planting methods as well as harvesting and post-harvesting handling, and a demonstration of node cutting to establish a secondary plot to produce more planting material.
The training revealed great potential for the improvement of farmer food security and the provision of additional farmer income. This perfectly aligns with the objectives of Hershey’s commitment to sustainability. Only yet two years into the CLP II program, we are expecting to double the reach in the next two years, establishing a projected 23 sites and reaching over 30,000 farmers.