The Solidaridad West Africa project on Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP) has held a dissemination workshop on best management practices in oil palm cultivation to help increase productivity and sustainability.
The workshop brings together various practitioners in the value chain ranging from agronomists to oil palm farmers to share their success stories of the Best Management Practice approaches in oil palm cultivation.
Speaking at the workshop, Mr Delle Kpebesaan, Solidaridad?s Regional Programme Manager for SWAPP, said the BMP is an initiative to encourage farmers to adopt correct farming practices to improve yield, enhance income and livelihoods from oil palm for farmers.
He said when farmers are equipped with the best management practices they would be able to increase yield on existing land.
Mr Kpebessan said SWAPP project aims at developing the oil palm sector ? a sector dominated by small-scale farmers to be more productive and profitable.
The two-year programme is to enable farmers to adopt best agronomic practices to boost production to meet the huge demand for oil palm. Ghana is a net importer of 70,000 tonnes of oil palm annually to supplement limited domestic supply.
Mr Kpebessan said SWAPP is implementing the project because the idea that oil palm is profitable and to encourage farmers to intensify the cultivation of oil palm as a means of diversification from the traditional exports.
He said once farmers began to reap the benefits from the best management practices, the sector would become interesting to financial institutions to provide the necessary funding, which is a major handicap to most farmers.
Mr Kpebessan said another to show and use the BMP intervention as an economic model that the government could implement to complement traditional exports.
Dr Thomas Fairhurst, a consultant with Tropical Crop Consortium Limited, said oil palm farmers ?could attain high yields through fertiliser use and other agronomic practices.
He said there are substantial opportunities to increase yield and profitability on existing land through the implementation of Best Management Practices.
The BMP approach advocates regular weeding and fertilization of oil palm and planting of appropriate cover crops and proper as well as timely harvesting of the fruit.
Abdul Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State Public Private Partnership said oil palm production held a great potential to support the sustainable economic development of farmers.
He said government appreciated initiatives such as SWAPP as a platform to develop and grow the oil palm industry in Ghana.