The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) project has supported more than 120,000 smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana and parts of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions to increase yields, incomes and productivity.
The project has, over the last four years, also built the capacities of the beneficiary farmers who are into the cultivation of maize, rice and soybean to produce to meet the standard of the international market.
The five-year USAID-ADVANCE project was initiated in partnership with the government to increase the competitiveness of the maize, rice and soya value chains in the country through boosting the productivity of the three crops, improving the value chain actors access to market and finance.
The Chief of Party (COP) of the USAID-ADVANCE project, Dr Emmanuel Dormon, disclosed that last Thursday at the seventh Pre-harvest Agribusiness event held in Tamale on the theme, “Keep Going, No U-Turn”.
The agribusiness event is aimed at expanding businesses and forging new partnerships to promote the growth of the country’s agricultural sector.
It was also to encourage agribusinesses working in the rice, maize and soy value chains to adopt best practices and seek new partnerships to ensure that the achievements made within the industry over the years are sustained.
Organised by USAID-ADVANCE, in collaboration with the government and Agri-House Foundation, the event brought together over 1,000 farmers, buyers, input dealers, manufacturers, government officials, development partners and financial institutions, among others.
Support for farmers
Dr Dormon said the project would continue to train farmers to improve their productivity and the quality of their produce (maize, rice and soybean) to favourably compete with the imported products.
The USAID/Ghana Agriculture Team Leader, Madam Jenna Tajchman-Trofim, said the US government’s support to Ghana in the agricultural sector enabled the beneficiary farmers to sell their produce, valued at over $120 million, last year.
She said the US government through its Feed the Future initiative would continue to focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, and also support the country in developing its agricultural sector to spur economic growth and trade that would increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and under nutrition.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture and Member of Parliament (MP) for Walewale, Dr Sagre Bambangi, who opened the event, said the government would feed into its policies for the agricultural sector some of the gains made under the USAID-ADVANCE project to help transform the sector for economic growth and ensure food security.
He stated that the government was also taking steps to help reduce the annual post-harvest losses experienced by farmers through the provision of warehouses and other new technologies for the storage of farm produce and also create ready market for farmers.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, for his part, commended the US government for the various interventions in northern Ghana directed at fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition