Government on Friday handed over the former World Bank building to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for their operations in the country.
Mr Fifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture, speaking at the handing over ceremony in Accra, said FAO’s presence in Africa had brought enormous benefits especially to Ghana, adding that he looked forward to seeing Ghana become a hub of IFAD.
He said government would want to see an increased collaboration with FAO and IFAD in improving on various agricultural interventions in the country.
He, therefore, called on UN agencies to form an effective alliance to accelerate the development of agriculture in Ghana.
Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana, said: “This symbolises the commitment of the Government to build on the successes we have chalked together in fighting food and nutrition insecurity.”
He said this was also a journey towards improved agricultural productivity, living standards and better livelihood condition for the rural dwellers and the nation at large.
He said the allocation of the building to the two institutions created fertile grounds for increased co-operation and building of synergies to effectively and efficiently cooperate with government in its development agenda.
Dr Thiombiano said government’s allocation of the facility to the institutions would further motivate them to do more and also work assiduously to achieve a transformational agenda as stated in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II.
Mr Bukar Tijani, FAO Regional Representative for Africa, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Government for providing the facility to support the work of FAO in Ghana.
He said the building symbolised the sustained and strong partnership that existed between the country and FAO since 1959, when they commenced operations in Ghana to cover the Africa region.
“It goes without saying that achieving food security and better nutrition is at the heart of FAO’s efforts in Ghana and constitutes a key aspect of our co-operation and partnership,” he said.
Mr Tijani He said the FAO had worked within the framework of Ghana’s nationally defined priorities aimed at eradicating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, and the elimination of poverty for the benefit of Ghanaians.
He said since the commencement of FAO representation in Ghana, over 350 technical projects have been implemented amounting to over $230 million.
Mr Michel Mordasini, Vice President, IFAD said investing in rural transformation and smallholder family farming was pivotal for achieving national and global food and nutrition security.
He said IFAD encouraged efforts by member states to engage more public resources in sustainable and inclusive agricultural and rural development.
Mr Mordasini said IFAD was expanding its outreach to facilitate and broker more effective linkages between the private sector and farmers’ organisations.
“Together with our development partners we are fully committed to support the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the government’s efforts to transform the rural areas of Ghana by creating a more diversified, sustainable, better integrated and more robust rural economy,” he said.