The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) and the Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre (FOHCREC, Kade) of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS), University of Ghana (UG) have organized a three-day workshop on Envirodome Greenhouse Technology for the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) at WACCI.
Director giving his opening remarks
The workshop held on September 23, 27 and 28, 2016 was attended by vegetable producers and exporters from across the country. It was aimed at equipping participants with the requisite knowledge in Envirodome Greenhouse Technology to improve safe and healthy vegetable production in Ghana. The specific objectives of this workshop were to train participants on how to increase the production of safe and healthy vegetables, avoid pest and diseases as they occur in the open field, extend shelf life of produce, provide safe and healthy food for the customer and increase the productivity and profitability of their farm business.
Prof. Eric Y. Danquah, the Director of WACCI, in his opening remarks stated that Ghana cannot achieve middle income status if agriculture is not transformed. Speaking to participants at the workshop, he made references to Brazil and Malaysia, and South Korea where governmental support has made it possible for the transformation of agriculture for huge productivity gains. Prof. Danquah said that improved varieties with inbuilt resilience together with production packages were needed urgently in farmers’ fields to boost the production of the crops that feed the people of Ghana. He lamented the challenged vegetable industry in Ghana and informed the participants that WACCI together with strategic partners along the food production value chain have launched a vegetable innovation lab to address the challenges faced by vegetable farmers and hoped that with Government support, Ghana would be self-sufficient in quality vegetables in a few years.
Prof. George O. Nkansah, one of the facilitators of the workshop in his address, said that the Greenhouse Technology makes use of unproductive land and is effective for the control of pests thereby giving yields as high as 200 t/ha annually. He added that crops produced under this system are healthier and safer than those cultivated under open field systems. He said that about USD 3,000 was needed as startup capital, but the investment could be recouped within 3 years, because some crops reach full maturity under the Greenhouse system in 17 days. Also, the Greenhouse is durable and can last up to 15 years requiring maintenance once every three (3) years.
The participants were taken through modules on plant biology, specialized growing techniques for greenhouse vegetable production, pest, insects and disease identification in greenhouses, organic fertilizer application, sensory analysis for farm produce, farming as a business, techniques for marketing agricultural produce, record keeping in farm business and sources of funding for farm business. Facilitators of the workshop were faculty from various fields in vegetable production within the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana. The Facilitators charged participants to see farming as a business by effectively planning farm activities. This, they added, would help them generate more income and improve their socio-economic status. As part of the workshop, participants were taken to Ashaiman for exposure to Greenhouse Technology. At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed their gratitude to WACCI and FOHCREC for organizing the training workshop which they said had equipped them with good knowledge and skills on the Envirodrome Greenhouse Technology.
Prof. Nkansah presenting a participant his certificate