The Israeli Agency of International Development Co-operation, in co-operation with the German International Co-operation (GIZ) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), would be training citrus farmers and technical officers of the Ministry.

The officers would be drawn from the Eastern and Ashanti Regions, in a two-week training workshop to upgrade their knowledge and enhance their capacity in citrus production.

A statement issued by MOFA and copied to  the Ghana News Agency said the workshop is intended to revitalize the citrus industry through interventions that will attract investments in fruit processing facilities, and ultimately generate higher income levels for the citrus growers.

?It will be facilitated by two Israeli citrus experts Dr. Shmuel Gross (entomologist) and Mr. Dubi Raber (agronomist) who were in the country last year to undertake similar training with some selected citrus farmers and MoFA staff,? the statement said.

It said last year, about one hundred citrus farmers in the Western and Ashanti regions were taken through similar training to increase their knowledge in best practices.

The statement said participants would be taken through topics such as nursery management, planning citrus orchard, cultural practices, and factors militating against citrus production, irrigation and nutrition.

It said the aim of the co-operation is to contribute to improved quality citrus production for improved sustainable income to all actors within the citrus value chain and empower citrus farmers across the country.

The statement quoted the Israeli Ambassador, Sharon Bar-li as saying ?Israel Agricultural abilities have grown considerably since the Jaffa Oranges became famous around the world and became a primary export for the fledgling Israeli State in 1948.?

He said ?with our knowledge and experience, it is only natural that we accepted the request of our friends at MoFA.  Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy, and we are especially pleased to be contributing to making it a little sturdier.?

According to GIZ, the Citrus Trilateral Co-operation is contributing to solve some challenges confronting productivity levels of the citrus industry and enhance technical competence of MoFA technical staff and farmers in line with the Government of Ghana?s Tree Crops policy.

?All the interventions will significantly improve the competiveness of Ghana?s citrus industry within the sub region,? the statement said, quoting the Director of Crop Services at MoFA, Emmanuel Asante-Krobea as saying: ?the Ministry of Food and Agriculture recognizes the potential of the tree crops sub-sector in general, and the citrus industry in particular, to improve the fortunes of the agricultural sector of the economy, and is doing its best to revamp it in line with the tree crops policy of 2012 within the constraints it finds itself.?

He said the Government of Ghana is grateful for the support being provided by the German and Israeli Governments under this trilateral co-operation to improve the citrus industry?.

Ghana?s citrus yield currently stands at 20-25 tons per hectare ? against an industry average of 70-80 tons per hectare in Israel.

Source: GNA

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