Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme held their first stakeholder encounter with the media on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 in Accra under theme ‘‘CONSOLIDATING THE GAINS IN STRENGTHENING SMALLHOLDER FARMER ORGANIZATION’’.
Speaking at the event was the National Programme Coordinator of GASIP, Mr. Klutse Kudomor said an additional $105 million financing support is being made to the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Program (GASIP).
According to him, the new funding was made possible after a sterling performance chalked by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in implementing GASIP.
Mr. Klutse Kudomor said “this 105 million USD Programme will help consolidate the current gains of GASIP and expand the activities to cover other value chains. IFAD is contributing 60 million USD.”
He said before the current management took over in April 2019, GASIP implementation status was 12%, a situation which was leading to a premature closure of the programme by IFAD for non-performance.
He explained that “however, due to hard work by management and staff, IFAD has reclassified the status of the programme from “a non-performing programme to a performing programme.”
The Coordinator highlighted that “implementation status had increased to 78% within a spate of less than one year,” adding that “management did this by supporting the smallholder farmers. GASIP created shared values and opportunities within the value chains of rice, maize, soya and vegetables.”
The coordinator, said that GASIP had impacted positively on the livelihoods of farmers and had contributed immensely to reduction in the prices of food items on the market, intimating that “more importantly, GASIP invested in capacity building and training.”
In Ghana, smallholder farmers produce about 90% of the staple food such as maize and rice. And according to Mr. Kudomor, “this implies that they are the main actors in maintaining food security in Ghana.
According to him, “therefore, any investment in the food value chains of the smallholder farmer will cascade greatly in supporting the food systems in Ghana.”
GASIP came into operation in 2015. The Programme initial funding was a mix of IFAD’s $36 million loan and Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) grant of $10 million. Initially, the Program was expected to close by June 2021.
However, Mr. Kudomor says “the Programme is being considered for extension so as to complete outstanding activities.” According to him, over the last two years, GASIP has chalked some “remarkable successes” which include partnering with agribusinesses to provide market access to smallholder farmers, subscribing them to receive market price information from the Ghana Commodity Exchange; support to over 90,000 smallholder farmers in over 1,000 FBOs, working with 80 agribusinesses.
He stated that in terms of equipment and machinery, 28 tractors, 600 power tillers and hand-held rice harvesters were distributed to selected small-holder farmer organizations, adding that access roads were provided to link farmers to markets.
Loans from IFAD in Ghana are mainly targeted at supporting the reduction of poverty in line with the Ghanaian Government’s economic development strategy.
BAGBARA TANKO & UROWOLI PHILLIP