Ghana is expected to attract more than $225 million from the U.S government from 2019 onwards, to support Ghana’s agriculture for five years.
The amount is expected to be raised through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed-the-Future Initiative, a US government programme to combat global hunger and promote food security.
Andy Karas, the USAID Ghana Mission Director, disclosed these in Accra yesterday during the USAID Feed the Future Implementers Partners Meeting.
Under the theme, “Sustaining the Momentum to Finish Strongly,” the two-day programme was attended by partners of the Feed the Future such as Resilience in Northern Ghana, FinGAP, AG Tech Transfer and representatives of government as well as Development Partners.
Mr. Karas said the US government was committed to extending the Feed-the-Future Initiative in Ghana when it ends next year, and the country stood the chance of attracting more funding for agriculture.
He indicated that through the project US government annually released $45 million to Ghana for its agriculture in the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Zones.
Mr. Karas said the programme, which was targeted at maize, rice, and soy beans for the past four years, had helped to double the production of those staples in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions, and improved the incomes of farmers and reduce poverty by 16 per cent.
He said that USAID had helped to raise more than $85 million from the private sector to finance projects in the maize, rice and soy value chains.
“We are also through the Feed-the-Future programme helping to build a vibrant seed and fertilizer industries,” Mr Karas said, and indicated that through the project three seed laboratories had been constructed in the SADA Zones.
He disclosed that the USAID was committed to supporting the Planting for Food and Jobs programme by the government, aimed at creating jobs, providing food and reducing poverty.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto who was represented Mr Kwesi Korboe, the USAID Embedded Advisor, elicited the support of the private sector to revamp and boost the agriculture sector.
Speaking on topic “The Role of the Private Sector in Agricultural Development in Ghana,” he said agriculture was a profitable venture and urged the private sector to invest in the sector.
The minister said the private sector could tap into the various opportunities in the sector to diversify their investment portfolios and mentioned some of the sectors as seed, inputs, value-chain and marketing.
He commended the US government for its continued technical and financial support for Ghana’s agricultural sector, and lauded USAID for organising the meeting to discuss measures to boost agriculture in the country.
By Kingsley Asare