Root & Tuber Improvement & Marketing Programme (RTIMP)

Introduction

RTIMP is being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Ghana (GoG) for a period of 8 years (2007-2014).

The Goal of the Programme is to enhance income and food security in order to improve livelihoods of the rural poor.

The programme seeks to build a competitive market-based Root and Tuber Commodity Chain (RTCC) supported by relevant, effective and sustainable services that are available to the rural poor.

RTIMP works with a wide cross section of stakeholders in order to achieve maximum economic and social impact at all stages of the R&T commodity chains.  It’s  interventions focuses especially on improving the outputs, incomes and hence living standards of small-scale R&T farmers, processors and traders, particularly women.

The Programme has operated integrated activities in 56 districts and planting material multiplication and distribution alone in additional 24 districts. The RTIMP continued to pursue the strategic objective of building competitive and market-based R&T commodity chains supported by relevant, effective, and sustainable services that are easily accessible to the rural poor.

The focus of the intervention has been on establishing and consolidating the services on which the rural poor will rely to ensure effective participation in the commodity chains.

In order to ensure that the demand for services is occasioned by a “market pull”, the programme is making efforts at enhancing the market capacity through the following:

  • Increased number of R&T Commodity chains established and functioning
  • % increase in R&T produce that is processed
  • Increased number of MSEs run on formal business lines
  • Increased productivity of R&T-based cropping systems

Programme Components:

  • Support to increased commodity chain linkages
  • Support to Root and Tuber Production
  • Upgrading of Small-Scale R&T Processing, Business and Marketing Skills
  • Programme Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation

 

 

Key Strategies in the Programme include:

  • District Stakeholder Fora (DSF)
  • Commodity chain linkage activities through Initiative fund (IF)
  • Linking up small-scale producers and processors with larger-scale users of R&T products
  • Planting material multiplication and distribution
  • Farmer Field Fora (FFFs)
  • Technology Transfer for Processors
  • Establishment of Good Practices Centers (GPCs)
  • Exposure visits to Good Practices Centres
  • Business development training
  • Financial services through the Micro enterprise fund (MEF)

Key Achievements

After 4 years of implementation, the various platforms (FFF, exposure visits to GPC, business development training and planting material distribution) on which clients are equipped to respond to the “demand pull” created by increased access to MEF, have been well developed.

The Programme has made steady progress in consolidating the establishment and functioning of the various entry points and learning platforms of District Stakeholder Fora (DSF), Good Practices Centres (GPCs) and Farmer Field Fora (FFF).

A) Support to increased commodity chain linkages

 

The Programme has supported the development of several commodity value chains in the country. RTIMP Chain Facilitation, since Mid-TERM Review (MTR)   is focused on 4 key chains namely; Gari, High Quality Cassava Flour, Bonding cassava flour for plywood industry, and fresh Yam. Notable among them is the cassava flour as glue extender for plywood manufacture (Cassava plywood chain).

Sixteen (16) Key off taker led commodity chain segments have been identified and supported to increase trade volumes. Partnership deals have for instance been initiated with Freshmacs Ltd (as Off-taker) to develop / cultivate Beauregard, (orange fresh variety) sweet potato for export. Enterprise Records Book has been developed in association with National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and introduced to all actors with emphasis on the farmers and processors in an effort to mainstream financial analysis and record keeping in the value chain business. The traders and farmers involved in the chain have been provided with business training and technical support to improve profitability and general trading conditions.

A total of 115 District Stakeholder Fora (DSFs) have also been held in the various operating districts with  3,928 participants. Trade relations among chain actors have improved through the DSFs. The DSFs   have provided the various value chain actors a platform to interact to build relationships and even make trade deals. There is increased awareness by the Programme’s stakeholders in and demand for RTIMP activities, services and products.

B) Support to Root and Tuber Production.

RTIMP has multiplied and distributed improved disease and pest –free planting material of root and tuber crops to farmers in all 10 regions in Ghana.With 287ha of primary fields and 1,066 ha of secondary fields established, a total of  133,720  (80,897males and  52,823 females)  tertiary farmers out of a target of 174,400 farmers  have been supplied with improved planting materials of recommended varieties of cassava, yam, cocoyam and sweet potato.  Generally, the enthusiasm of   beneficiaries to access healthy planting material has been high. Farmers are enthusiastic about the improved planting material supply and it was agreed at midterm to upscale and out scale planting material multiplication and distribution.

RTIMP has instituted the Farmer Field Fora (FFF) as a platform for innovation and sharing of knowledge and experience by farmers, researchers and extension workers. The farmers involved in the FFF are learning to improve the productivity of their farms.

In all, 149 FFFs have been established and 206 FFF facilitators trained. A total of 5,359 farmers (3,215 males and 2,144 females) including 130 from MoFA have been trained and are participating in the Farmer Field Fora (FFF) to improve their capacity to innovate and to enhance adoption of improved technologies. Due to the effectiveness of the FFF as a platform for technology exchange, it was agreed at midterm to scale it up from the Programme target of 200 to 500.

A) Upgrading of Small-Scale R&T Processing, Business and Marketing Skills

RTIMP has promoted technologies for processing & storage through Prototype testing,

Manufacturing / fabrication, facilitating acquisition of equipment and training  towards the production of high quality products and enhancement of sanitation and hygiene as well as process flow.

A total of 17 new, more efficient and cost-effective equipment (prototype) for the processing of R & T crops are available and being  promoted .These   include:

Cassava Harvester, Washing bay, Self-feeding stainless steel Grater, Fermentation bay,  Effluent management, systems, Robust single/double-screw Press, Stainless steel roasting pan and Smoke free-Roasting kilns.

With very good collaboration with REP II, GRATIS Foundation and other Implementation Partners, RTIMP has trained a group of 124 (122 males and 2 females) fabricators / repairers of such equipment. These partners, during trainings, have suggested and implemented upgrades of very efficient equipment such as the self-feeding grater, stainless steel rectangular roasting pans

A total of 19 processing centres have been upgraded to Good Practices Centres (GPCs) and 1,503 (374 males and 1,129 female   small-scale processors have been exposed to good manufacturing practices by visiting the GPCs.

Figure 9: JOSMA Good Practice Center at Mampong-Ashanti

These GPCs are serving as demonstration centers for clients of RTIMP, who could adopt some of the technologies by utilizing the Micro-Enterprise Fund (MEF).

The GPCs are serving as focal points for linkage activities.

They have indirect impact on producers through increased demand of raw material (marketing points of raw materials).

At Otaipro, where one of the GPCs is located, some youth have left the big cities to the village to produce cassava to feed the GPC. One of them has now taken to commercial planting material production to serve tertiary cassava producers in the community surrounding the GPC.

Due to the increased capacity arising out of the upgrading, the GPCs are now serving as key hubs around which several farmers sell their cassava roots as well as small processors utilizing the facilities in the communities. This increases economic activities and therefore wealth creation in the poor rural areas.

In terms of technology transfer, 1,294 processors have been trained in Quality Management systems (including packaging and labelling). This has enhanced quality of the their product (e . g. More attractive packaging at Mark & B-Face, Harii Farms, Jenefal, etc)

Improvement on quality and volumes has allowed access to external markets. For example, gari from Asueyi is being exported to Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, USA and UK by Nigeria business men. Also, Jenefal Farms exports gari to the Gambia.

The above benefits informed the MTR to increase the number of the GPCs from 15 to 75.

In all, 2,319 (928 males and 1,391 females) entrepreneurs have been equipped with business development and marketing skills. A total of 541 beneficiaries (216 males and 325 females) have accessed Micro-Enterprise Fund (MEF) facilitated by the Programme to upgrade their processing operations profitably. The Disbursement rate of Mico-Enterprise Fund stands at 25%.

In spite of this achievement, most PFIs find it difficult to use own funds to finance 50% of investment cost. Effort is however being made to expand PFI status to commercial banks.  Funds Management Agreement has   been signed with Eco-bank Ghana to this effect

Areas identified for scaling up

  • Planting material multiplication and distribution
  • Business development training
  • Linking up small-scale producers and processors with larger-scale users of R&T products
  • District Stakeholder Fora (DSF)
  • Farmer Field Fora (FFFs)
  • Good Practices Centres (GPCs)

Key challenges

Micro-enterprise Fund

The operation of the MEF  has  been  hampered by a number of issues. Currently the key bottleneck is the unwillingness of most of the accredited PFIs to commit from their own resources short-term funds for the 50% investment cost under MEF.

Effort is being made to expand PFI status to universal commercial banks.  Funds Management Agreement has just been signed with Eco-bank-Ghana to this effect.

Initiative Fund

TSPs undertaking the Commodity Chain Linkages have not been able to develop initiatives for further upgrading of the value chains (VC) using the Initiative Fund. The identification and development of innovations were expected to be spontaneously developed by the TSPs as the bottlenecks arose

As part of measures to increase disbursement under the Initiative Fund the following recommendations are being pursued:

  • Recruitment of supply chain facilitators for specific supply chains.
  • Development of  chains along specific product lines by: a) identifying private sector stakeholders in the chain; b) identifying the bottlenecks in the chain; c) sourcing IF funding to remove the bottlenecks;
  • Focus of chain development on: a) Cassava flour for the plywood industry, b) HQCF, c) any other viable chains which have the potential to move large quantities of R&T commodities; d) export of yam.
  • Expansion of the activities under this Fund  to include individuals and groups in the private sector who require assistance for the removal of specific bottlenecks or challenges along a chain (e.g research in product development, development of prototype equipment, means of transport / trucks  etc.)

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