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Business News of Sunday, 31 July 2016


AGRA assists smallholder farmers with $867K

A farmer with cassava A farmer with cassava

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led alliance focused on putting farmers at the centre of Africa’s growing economy, has announced an US$867,788 grant to Esoko Ghana for the implementation of a MasterCard Foundation-funded project – Agro Input Access Solution Project in Ghana.

Esoko is an organisation that works to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain by providing a platform of content and software to agri-businesses, farmers’ associations, NGOs, and mobile operators.

The 36-month project is expected to support the deployment of an innovative technology solution termed ‘Fasiba’, aimed at helping over 80,000 smallholder farmers overcome challenges associated with access to affordable and quality inputs to increase productivity and income.

The initiative is part of the MasterCard Foundation-funded Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa Project (FISFAP), which is being managed by AGRA.

In a statement issued by AGRA after a stakeholder meeting in Accra, the TEAM LEADER of FISFAP, AGRA, Hedwig Siewertsen said: “Timely access to quality and affordable inputs has been a major challenge for many smallholder farmers in Ghana over the years, just as it is in many other countries across the continent. As a result of these changes, many farmers end up putting in a lot of efforts but have very little results to show, which worsens their general living conditions. This is what the MasterCard Foundation and AGRA aim to address so that our farmers can improve their livelihoods through increased productivity and incomes.”

Fadel Ndiame, West Africa Regional Head of AGRA said AGRA was targeting at improving the living conditions of over 21 million smallholder farmers with improved methods of farming, hence the grant support to Esoko Ghana for the implementation of the project.

He said: “Together with the MasterCard Foundation and other partners, AGRA seeks to provide the necessary environment and innovative tools that will enable millions of smallholder farmers across Africa attain full potential in their agricultural activities as a way of promoting food security and pulling themselves out of poverty.”

Mr Ndiame added: “The FISFAP project, therefore, will play a major role in supporting this cause in the interest of millions of smallholder farmers including women and the youth, as the Fasiba project, among other things, will coordinate the activities of various key partners, identify and register farmers, help to market farmers’ products as well as train and build capacities of field agents who will support farmers’ pre-payment for agro-inputs.”