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Ghana Get $600m For Agric
Posted on: 04-Sep-2012         Source: dailyguideghana.com
Ghana is to receive $600 million from its G-8 partners to strengthen the agricultural sector.

The amount, which is part of a $3 billion package pledged by G8, would help sustain agricultural growth in Africa to reduce poverty.

It is expected to encourage more private businesses to participate in the sector, ensure food security and promote nutrition of smallholder farmers and their families, as well as create wealth through agriculture.

Lena Otoo, a deputy Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, told BUSINESS GUIDE after the launch of the initiative in Accra that an estimated 1.3 million Ghanaians are expected to be lifted out of poverty in Ghana through the project.

In Africa, a total of 50 million people are expected to be lifted out of poverty over the next 10 years through the strengthening food security and nutrition.

Codenamed ‘new alliance for food security and nutrition’, the initiative aims at attracting private sector investment into agriculture while combining effective policies by governments to promote innovation and focus on risk management.

Ms. Otoo said five main commodities, rice, maize, cassava, yam and cocoyam had been selected and added that other food crops would be promoted “depending on the competitive advantage of the area through a value chain analysis.”

Lunching the new alliance for food in Accra, Nii Amasah Namoale, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the government sees the initiative as an opportunity to strengthen the focus and level of investment in the agric sector.

He said the effective implementation of the project would lead to sustainable growth in incomes and poverty reduction.

He said public-private partnership in the agric sector was encouraging adding: “This is exemplified by the development of the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project co-financed by the World Bank $100 million loan and USAID $45 million grant.”

Outgoing United States Ambassador to Ghana, Donald Teitelbaum stated that investment in agriculture would go a long way to boost food production and ensure food for the people to reduce the poverty level.

“Private sector investment is important to improve the food sector in Ghana,” he said, explaining that the project targets 1.3 million people in Ghana.

Mr. Teitelbaum said some multinationals and private sector companies in Ghana had already signed letters of intent to support Ghana’s agriculture sector and was hopeful that it would allow farmers to increase the income and nutrition of families.

Earlier, Nana Osei Bonsu, Executive Director of the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF), cited heavy dependence on rain fall, land tenure, level of infrastructure and technology as some of the challenges of players in the agricultural sector in Ghana.

“We have to structure a standard policy for securing land for the private sector,” he said.

He also stressed the need to support the private sector, which is the backbone of the economy.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey