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Business News of Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Source: GNA

Micro-finance institutions asked to support agricultural production

Micro-finance institutions were on Tuesday advised to roll out schemes to support farmers to leverage accelerated agricultural modernisation to increase their yields.

Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture gave the advice at the launch of phase II of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP2A) in Accra.

He said “generation of new technologies and release of new crop varieties do not by themselves result into increased agricultural yields unless we provide a complementary enabling environment that facilitates the uptake of these technologies by our farmers”.

Mr Humado pledged the support of his Ministry to assist farmers to break “the back of poverty to improve upon their standard of living and welfare through agricultural productivity increase and increased farmer incomes”.

He expressed the hope that WAAPP2A would improve technologies to assist Ghana achieve food self-sufficiency and contribute as a major exporter of the commodity to the world.

The WAAPP2A aims at contributing to agricultural productivity; strengthen national mechanisms, regulations and institutions for regional cooperation, increase availability of improved seeds and livestock genetic material of selected priority commodities.

The targeted commodities include root and tubers, tomato, onion and pepper, small ruminants and poultry, cereals and legumes.

WAAPP is a two-phase-10-year adaptable programme, each of five-year duration.

WAAPP1A seeks to achieve increased agricultural productivity through the harmonisation of national agricultural policies in addition to building linkages among research institutions, extension service providers, producers, processors and the private sector.

The total programme cost was 15 million dollars.

Under phase II of the WAAPP2A, the total programme cost was 66,133 million dollars, spread over a five-year period.

This included an International Direct Assistance (IDA) financing of 60 million dollars, with Government’s contributions of 5.003 million dollars and beneficiaries contributions of 1.110 million dollars.

From the IDA credit proceeds, Ghana will provide a grant of four million dollars to the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development, to assist in harmonisation of procedures, sharing and dissemination of knowledge, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation activities.

The programme is with the support of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the World Bank, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Ghana, as well as the West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development.

Professor Seth Kofi Akyea Danso, a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, who served as Chairman of the occasion, expressed worry about the huge gap between actual agricultural production and potential production.

“We need to take advantage of research findings made in times past and technological breakthroughs to enable the country double its production,” he added.

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