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New Programme To Boost Agric Sector

Ghana’ agricultural sector is set to receive a boost with the launch of the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP).

The flagship programme, to be implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, is designed to support agribusiness development through the demand and market driven approaches under which smallholder farmers would have access to funding based on a transparent eligibility criteria.

With a $10m support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the programme would use a private initiative for the development of commodity value chains that give opportunities for smaller farmers to engage in profitable agri-businesses and therefore contribute to rural poverty reduction and improvement in rural livelihood.

It will furthermore facilitate commercial relationship between agri-businesses, smallholders, public and private service providers participating financial institutions (PFI’s) and input supplies.

GASIP, which is co-funded by the Government of Ghana and IFAD, would be run in cycles of three years each, the first two cycles would cost $133 million.

Roy Ayariga, GASIP National Project Coordinator, giving a brief overview of the project, said the running of the programme in phases is to help remove key bottlenecks in its implementation and make it sustainable.

He said the programme would primarily support the youth and women in smallholder farm businesses.

‘We will focus on private sector-led programme component, value chain development, rural value chain infrastructure development, knowledge management and policy support and coordination,’ he said.

A call would be made for proposals based on the potential value chain commodities which include cassava, maize, sorghum, soybean, rice, yam, sweet potato, fruits and vegetables, aquaculture, small remains and guinea fowl, Mr. Ayariga noted.

He said afterwards the proposals would be scrutinized in order to finally select those that meet the criteria.

Minister of Food and Agriculture, Fifi Kwetey, said government was working to make agriculture an attractive venture for the youth, hence its focus on giving priority to rural and agricultural transformation.

‘Government is investing resources to facilitate the acquisition of productive equipment such as tractors and accessories, especially for planting and harvesting,’ he noted.

He said that livestock and fisheries sub-sectors would receive the needed support under the GASIP programme provided their proposal meets the criteria.

Ides De Willebois, Director West &Central Africa, IFAD, in his statement, acknowledged the efforts of government to support agriculture in the country, adding that it was a privilege to be a partner in the GASIP initiative.

He expressed the hope that government would widen its support to other programmes in the agriculture sector.

By Daily Guide

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