The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved a request for $20 million dollars from Ghana’s Agric Ministry. The funds are to support food production and adequately prepare for the emergencies the country faces due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto at the meet the press series held on 23rd April. He added that the money will be disbursed within the next two weeks.
Explaining Ghana’s food security situation amidst the pandemic, Dr Afriyie Akoto further announced that IFAD is also considering another request for an amount of $90 million dollars much later.
Again, the Minister disclosed the set up of a COVID-19 fund to support for Agriculture and Food Security, adding that an amount of GHS10, 000 had been donated into it by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Apart from this, he added that AGRA has also offered GHS10, 000 worth of PPE for Agric Extension Officers.
He also expressed his gratitude to Global Affairs Canada for renovating 3 bio-containment laboratories which is currently being used for COVID-19 testing in the country.
Gov’t committed to growing the Agric sector
Dr Afriyie Akoto reiterated government’s commitment at growing the agriculture sector in the countr to make it attractive for many people, adding it will ensure that the sector continues to contribute significantly to the growth of Ghana’s economy.
“The target is to take agric growth to a double digit of 10% in the next two to three years”.
He said he will soon embark on a visit to some farms in the sixteen regions of the country to monitor activities by farmers and assess implementation of Government’s support programmes.
Ghana’s food security assured
In answering questions pertaining to the country’s food security situation, the Minister says Ghana faces no shortage despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
He maintained that food is available and that prices have even gone down due to the success of government’s flagship programmes in the sector.
To buttress his point, the Minister said that Ghana has become the go-to country for food in West Africa. This has resulted in Ghana supplying food to many neighbouring countries.
He explained that currently about 19 food items are being exported to countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali.
“Ghana has suddenly become a food basket where we are sending about 19 different food items to a lot of our West Africa neighbours,” he said.
On this backdrop, the Minister commended farmers and all other stakeholders in the Agricultural value chain for their efforts in helping to boost food production in Ghana.
Planting for Food and Jobs
The Planting for Food and Jobs, he said, has resulted in the distribution of subsidized seed inputs and fertilizers nationwide is ongoing.
“Other modules of PFJ, such as planting for export and rural development, rearing for food and jobs, the green house villages and agricultural mechanization are all being pursued relentlessly.”
He said they’re on course to meet production targets and produce for 2020 with the support of the Ministry of Finance and development partners led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, through the GACIP project.
The capacity of all that put together is 80,000 metric tons, he said.
He however says more warehouses would be built going forward because Ghana needs to reach a 200,000 metric tons warehouse capacity.