This article was originally written and published by ACDI/VOCA.
Name: Dr. David Addae
Current title/profession: Professor of Advanced Technologies, Alcorn State University
Current hometown: Natchez, Mississippi
Areas of expertise: Post-harvest food losses, strategic technologies, community building
Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer West Africa
Location of the project: Ghana
Organization that sent the volunteer: ACDI/VOCA
In Twapease, Ghana, the Dekaworwor Rice Growers’ Association has seen a dramatic increase in rice yields and nearly doubling of income. Profits have been plowed right back into the community. They are used to extend credit to association members and expand educational opportunities for local children. All primary school-aged children now attend school because their fees are covered by the association. The farmers are also paying for promising teenagers to attend junior high and trade school.
How was this group able to achieve such a transformation? The answer is hard work and support from the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) West Africa program implemented by ACDI/VOCA.
F2F is a USAID-funded program that sends U.S. agricultural experts to developing and transitional countries where they voluntarily share
The 64-member Dekaworwor association received assistance from Dr. David Addae of Natchez, Mississippi. Before the F2F volunteer came, the association's agronomic practices were lacking: farmers planted low-quality seeds by broadcasting, i.e., scattering by hand.
Through demonstrations, Dr. Addae taught the farmers how they could yield more rice by using higher-quality seeds and planting manually in lines, which helps to evenly distribute the seeds and places them at the correct depth. He said that this technique also cuts down on time spent on crop maintenance, since rows allow the farmers to quickly weed or apply inputs.
Dr. Addae also demonstrated techniques on how to prepare the rice to avoid significant post-harvest losses. He was well qualified to do so since his dissertation was "Post-Harvest Food Losses in Ghana."
The results from Dr. Addae's visit are impressive. Members’ rice harvests have increased from 0.85 tons per acre to 1.98 tons per acre, resulting in an average increase of $446 per acre—meaning the farmers have effectively doubled their rice sales. Credit goes to the farmers’ hard work and diligent adoption of farming and post-harvest handling techniques recommended by Dr. Addae.
Improved prospects have resulted in a stronger commitment to working together. “We are so much more unified now than we were before the training. We care for each other now,” said one member.
Another member agreed and said, “Now there is love, unity and respect in our group.”
A brighter future for these farmers means a brighter future for this community and its future generations.
Following this assignment, Dr. Addae returned to Ghana to assist the Abotre Ye Farmer's Association (AYFA). During his two-week assignment, Dr. Addae focused trained members and leaders of AYFA on effective communication, team work and records keeping.
Dr. Addae is a professor in the department of Advanced Technologies at Alcorn State University. He received his Masters in Agricultural Economics and Rural Development from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.