AGRA To Launch Agri-Business Support Project

Maize PixA five-year agricultural project meant to attract more private sector investment to smallholder agricultural busi-nesses in the country has been launched by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Accra.

Dubbed, Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness (MIRA), the project is being implemented in five African countries made up of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ghana with funding from AGRA.

It aims at providing African governments with high local and technical assistance to identify, prioritise and reform specific agricultural regulations that has been hindering private investment in small and medium sized agribusinesses operating in smallholder agricultural value chain.

Speaking at the launch in Accra yesterday, Director of Policies at AGRA, Dr. Steve Were Omamo, said the project sought to bridge the gap between policies and private investment identified by AGRA in a research conducted in the five countries.

“The research uncovered policies that were either missing, flawed, excessive or poorly implemented therefore failed to address agricultural problems that hinder private investment in smallholder agribusinesses,” he said.

According to Mr. Omamo, the project has classified the gaps into five broad perspectives, including finance, market, feeds, fertilisers and land, which when addressed by government would lead to a transformation required to attract private investment to boost agriculture in the country.

He said the project did not seek to scrap government’s policies and strategies but sought to enhance and tailor them in a way that will help the government to woo private investment into the country.

Mr. Omamo said the project was also to serve as a primary support to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and boost agricultural products and services.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Fifi Kwetey, in a speech read on his behalf, said a number of policies and programmes had been formulated to guide interventions in the growth and development of the agricultural sector.

He said in spite of the strides and successes achieved by the government in the area of agricultural policies and strategies, there still remain challenges faced by the country in their implementation.

The Agric Minister said the Plant and Fertiliser Act, Medium Term Agricultural Development Programme (MTADP), Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy (AAGDS) and Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy were some initiatives undertaken by the government to boost agriculture, however, their implementation needed to be enhanced.

Mr. Kwetey was optimistic that the project embarked upon by AGRA will support the government to formulate and implement policies that have short, medium and long term benefits to the economy.

He commended AGRA for the project and urged African governments to partner with AGRA towards improving food security in the sub-region.

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