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General News of Monday, 11 February 2008

Source: GNA

Veep to address IFAD Governing Council

From Nana Kodjo Jehu-Appiah

Rome, Feb. 11, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama would attend a two-day council meeting of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) from the February 13 to February 15 and the eighth replenishment deliberations of IFAD.

The Governing Council, which meets every year, is the highest decision making authority of the 164-member organisation established in 1977 as a follow up to the 1964 World Food Conference, with the aim of eradicating poverty in developing countries.

The Council takes decisions on matters such as: approval of new membership; appointment of the President of IFAD; matters pertaining to the permanent seat of the Fund, and the adoption of broad policies, criteria and regulations.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, who is Ghana's representative on the Council, made these known to journalists in Rome on Monday.

He said the meeting coincided with the 31st anniversary of IFAD, which he described as a pillar behind Ghana's agricultural sector. "Ghana has benefited more from IFAD than any country in the West African sub region, " he said that the country's track record in economic development and good governance, had caught the attention of the global organisation.

Throwing light on the replenishment session he said it would be a period when member states would commit money to the organisation to facilitate its objectives. Mr Debrah said Ghana was likely to pledge 500,000 dollars. Touching on the commitment of IFAD towards a vibrant agricultural sector in Ghana, he said the organisation was collaborating with the African Development Bank (ADB) to introduce a 100 million-dollar Northern Rural Growth Project in June.

ADB is committing over 70 million dollars while IFAD is providing 25 million dollars in the form of concessionary loans. The project, which would run for eight years, will attract five major components comprising Infrastructural Development, Capacity Building, Production, Credit and Marketing. The Agriculture Minister said the project would benefit the Northern, Upper East, Upper West regions and communities in the northern part of the Brong-Ahafo Region. Mr Debrah said Ghana was committed to complete the project ahead of schedule "to uplift the spirit of farmers." Since its establishment, IFAD has supported Ghana to implement 13 projects with a total cost of 346.9 dollars, which benefited 2,405,520 households.

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