The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, yesterday received the last batch of consignment of agricultural machinery from the Brazilian government to help improve the agriculture sector.
The consignment, received from the Brazilian government loaned at an estimated amount of $96m, is to complement government’s flagship agricultural campaign, “Planting for Food and Jobs”.
The agriculture implements include heavy combine harvester (wheeled), high horsepower tractors, tractor attached implements, tractor trailer (haulage), tractor mounted planting/ sowing equipment, chemical applicator and post-harvest equipment/crop processing, cereal sheller, rice cutter, power tillers, maize threshers.
Dr Akoto was in the company of the Editor of Ghanaian Times, Mr Dave Agbenu, the National Best Farmer, Mr Mashud Mohammed, Kadiri Osman, Greater Accra Best Farmer 2021, and Hannah Appenteng, Assembly woman for Ningo Prampram.
The sector minister after a tour to inspect the machinery in Accra stated that, “we are taking the last consignment of machinery from the Brazilian government under the More Food Programme, under which the Brazilian government loaned government of Ghana$96m in three tranches. What you see here this morning is the last tranche of the third tranche of the facility worth 30 million USD ,” he said.
He further explained that the consignment, which were still being evacuated from the port, was essential as it would help improve harvesting, post harvesting and value addition, adding that, “it will also help the country achieve the goals of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative which is hinged on the five modules namely food security, tree crop to diversify out of cocoa, greenhouse village, livestock and farm machinery modules.”
Dr Akoto said the machinery had attracted a subsidy of 40 per cent to support farming industry, saying this decision was made under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government.
He said MoFA would take note of the delivery of services they provided to the farmers to determine the degree to which they would expand the facilities.
He reminisced that the NPP government of President Kufuor started building Agricultural Mechanisation Centres around the country, and by the time he left office in 2008, the country had 78 of such centres.
Upon the assumption of office of President Akufo-Addo, the Agric Minister stated that “given the recognition of the importance of agriculture as a means of transforming the economy of this country, we chose the strategy that we are going to focus on small holdings”.
The policy, he added, was working and reflecting in improved output, improved productivity, abundance of food, stressing that “this year, we are expecting a huge bumper crop around the country and our exports to our neighbouring countries are going to keep on climbing”.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture noted that sustaining this growth would require mechanising “critical areas of the small holders activity”.
The National Best Farmer for 2021, Mr Mashud Mohammed, encouraged young farmers to invest in their work, especially agricultural machinery.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY AND MARYAM OMARU