The Savannah zone holds major agricultural potential yet it constitutes the poorest part of the country where lives could be transformed through Agriculture if these potentials are harnessed.
The Savanna Zone is characterized with challenging agro-ecological conditions, such as low socio-economic indicators, and a deficit in terms of infrastructure and services. The development of this zone is a national priority for economic growth and stability, food and nutrition security, as well as job creation and poverty reduction.
In addressing the persistent situation in the savannah zone, Government of Ghana (GOG) secured funding of UA 27.86 million (equivalent to US$39.01million) from the African Development Fund (ADF) to finance the implementation of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP). The project is anchored on Government’s flagship programme ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ) as well as the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative. The Project in under the leadership of Mr. Felix N. Darimaani as the National Project Coordinator, operating from Tamale the Capital of Northern Region.
The development objective of the Project is to transform agricultural value chains for food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation within the Savannah zone. The specific project targeted at increasing farmers’ food and nutrition security and incomes through increased agricultural productivity and diversification. Above all the project will enhance the creation and strengthening of agribusinesses to increase incomes of actors along the agriculture value chains on a sustainable basis.
Crop Production/ Productivity Improvement
SAPIP is in its third year of implementation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. Nonetheless, the project put to cultivation during the year 2020 a total area of 62,556ha: cultivated area for maize 34,116.90 ha, soybean 10,477.66 ha, rice 17951.30 ha and vegetables 11.60 ha. Beneficiary farmers received various levels of support including technical support and extension services delivery, land development support, inputs credit and out-growers facilitation schemes.
This support system has been anchored on Technologies for Agricultural Transformation Savanna (TAAT-S) commercial production of maize and soybean under Conservation Agriculture (CA), AfDB COVID-19 response strategy to food security in the country and through facilitation of implementing partners such as the Districts and Regional Department of Agriculture.
TAAT-S Commercial Production of Maize and Soybean
TAAT-S was launched to facilitate the introduction of multiple factors (adapted seeds, no till agriculture machinery, pesticides, etc) needed to create the conditions through the development of commercial hubs of maize-soybean-livestock production. TAAT-S implementation started in 2018 with technical support from Argentine Association of No till Farmers (AAPRESID).
Some key achievements are worth mentioning as at the year 2020 with a total cultivated area of 8,148ha being 6,101ha for maize and 2,047ha for Soybean. Four (4), Twelve (12) and seventy-six (76) commercial farmers participated in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Out-Growers Support Schemes under TAAT-S
The Project requires that commercial farmers maintain and provide some support to smallholder farmers (SHF) under the TAAT-S initiative. This is to ensure inclusiveness of SHF and to facilitate transfer of technology to this category of farmer who often do not have the capacity to undertake large scale farming. Through this model, large number of individual SHF are able to access project services and learning opportunities established on the anchor farm. During the year 2020, a total of 12,584 out-growers cultivated an area of 16,751ha: 6,577 maize & 5,830 soybean under TAAT-S and 4,344ha of rice under the COVID-19 response to food security.
Through the Regional and District Department of Agriculture a total of 946 FBOs constituting 19,458 farmers (ie. 15,237-Males and 4,221-Females) have cultivated an area of 37,657ha of maize, soybean, rice and vegetables during the period under discussion.
The design and implementation of the Project encompasses some infrastructure development that serves as enablers to productivity improvement and catalyst for efficiency along the selected commodity value chains. They include feeder road, warehouses, irrigation facilities and the establishment of agriculture mechanization services centers within the project operational area.
The year 2020 has seen a significant progress of project implementation. The area put to cultivation is 62,556ha with over 30,000 farmers with an additional total production of 308,912.16 mt of maize, rice, soya and vegetables. Nearly 80% of Project deliverables would be completed by the close of the year. The disbursement as at December, 2020 is 70.69% and over 95% of the project funds are committed to contracts. It is envisaged that the project will successfully execute and close its activities ahead of the schedule.
(Source of data: Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP),
Brief Statistics of the Year 2020, Progress of Implementation)
By: Bagbara Tanko
Head, Public Relations Ministry of Food and Agriculture