Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Story from the field: The Citrus consortium of Ghana molt to three Innovation Platforms

EC reviewers' Field visit on 22nd September 2015
22 September 2015. Kumasi, Ghana. Strategic Review of the EU support to CAADP pillar IV institutions. PAEPARD organised a field visit for two EC reviewers at a citrus farm that uses best practices related to the PAEPARD supported project: Control of Angular leaf spot of citrus in Ghana

In June 2011 the Platform for African-European Partnerships in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) opened a call for the submission of concept notes. The Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture together with University of Ghana, Pinora (a private company involved in fruit processing), the Citrus Growers
and Marketing Association of Ghana and the Instituto Valencia no de Investigaciones Agrarian, Spain submitted a concept note on Angular Leaf Spot disease of citrus which was selected by the coordination of PAEPARD.

The field visit to the citrus farm 
in Mankranso in August 2014
The consortium then, with the facilitation of PAEPARD, organized an inception workshop in Accra (13-17 February 2012) to develop a strong partnership and design together a framework for engagement in response to targeted calls for proposals.

Since then the consortium has been participating to write-shops organized by PAEPARD with the aim of submitting proposals and gain funds for consortium activities. Unfortunately none of the submissions to external (international) funding opportunities was successful. But a synergy was realised between the SSA CP and PAEPARD.

The synergy between the Sub-Saharan Challenge Program (SSA CP) and PAEPARD
  • The SSA CP is a FARA program funded by the European Commission through IFAD. The program has specialized in Integrated Agricultural Research Development (IAR4D) with the Integrated Innovation Platform (IP) approach where researchers, private sector including banks, NGOs, farmers create/form a forum to reflect and invent solutions to their challenges. 
  • SSA CP has facilitated the creation of IPs across the continent. Through PAEPARD they entered in contact with the Ghana citrus association. After discussion, two members (a researcher and a farmer) of the Citrus consortium were sent to Rwanda to learn the experience of IP. They have developed a proposal that got support from FARA under the SSSA CP funding for a total amount of 100,000 USD. 
  • A big training on IP management involving more than 30 members of the citrus producers association and researchers was organized in Kumasi in August 2014. A field visit was organised and the Mankranso IP was officially launched in the presence of the District Chief Officer, two members of the Parliament of Ghana and many other dignitaries. 
  • The Angular leaf spot disease symptom 
    in Mankranso (Ghana)
  • The IP involves all citrus producers from Ashanti Region. Later the same ceremony was in Kade (120Km from Accra) for Eastern Region citrus producers and Assin Foso (173km from Accra) for Central Region citrus producers. 
Outcomes from the Innovation Platform (IP)
  • Involvement of the policy makers. Two members of the Parliament of Ghana are members of the Mankranso IP. In one field visit organized by PAEPARD, they convinced the chair of the Agriculture sub-committee to work along with them. He was surprised to see that many farms were sold to the local mining companies. But the mining activities don’t last for long time and can’t sustain farmer livelihoods as the citrus activity does. Going back to Accra the issue of support to citrus famers was presented to the parliament. The member of Parliament said that citrus producers should be supported as the cocoa producers. 
  • It is expected that the current momentum created by the IP will 
    increase in the support of the citrus industry by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Also the IP expects members of the Parliament to enforce the law of spraying for all citrus producers because if a neighbor doesn’t spray his farm it is a source of contamination. The spraying should be mandatory to all producers and sanctions should be taken from those who do not comply. 
  • The control of the Angular Leaf Spot. The Angular Leaf Spot disease is managed through the use of a chemical spray that have been tested in other countries according to the EURGAP (European Good Agricultural Practices) and the Global GAP. These are Carbendazim and Mancozeb. The spray and other good practices (weeding the farm) has led to a big reduction of the losses of fruits.
  • The good understanding between the Private Sector and farmers. The fact that the two processing companies are sitting in the IP meetings has brought good atmosphere between the agribusiness and the farmers. In the past there were many misunderstanding between the two buyers and the farmers because they did not have a forum of discussion. But since the IP was created, everything is discussed in the IP and they agree on which type of fruits the farmers should harvest. Also the negotiation on the prices has been facilitated considerably by the IP.   

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