Ghana to benefit from $47m support for agriculture

BY: Samuel K. Obour

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)  have announced a $47 million, three-year partnership intended to accelerate smallholder farmer access to transformative agricultural technologies.

The Scaling Seed and Technologies Partnership will work in four countries within the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security -- Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania -- where it will help governments to strengthen their seed sectors and promote the commercialisation, distribution and adoption of improved seeds and other key technologies.

The partnership aims at increasing the production of high-quality seeds by 45 per cent in three years and ensuring that 40 per cent more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies.

When the New Alliance was launched, President Barrack Obama and others pledged to leverage technology’s transformative potential by taking innovation to scale.

To accomplish this, they committed themselves to a series of enabling actions to promote the adoption of agricultural technologies: Setting yield targets that support country-defined agricultural goals, identifying key innovations that can help farmers reach those targets, harnessing information and communication technologies to support agricultural growth, and promoting policy reforms to improve the enabling environment for agricultural investment that will lift millions out of poverty.

The Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership will help deliver on these New Alliance commitments by strengthening seed and input sectors. The partnership’s efforts will leverage technology’s tremendous potential to spur agricultural growth in Africa, which in turn can catalyse broad-based economic growth, improve smallholder incomes, and reduce hunger, poverty and stunting in children.

These gains will also help partner governments to meet the country-determined agricultural priorities they set during the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP) process.

“The Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership will help strengthen seed sectors, including regulatory systems, and create new local seed companies, ensuring that game-changing technologies can reach and improve the lives of millions of smallholders,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

“The United States will continue to support this and other New Alliance efforts through Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative.”

“We have seen great progress in the development of seeds and other agricultural technologies in recent years. Crucially, these are seeds that are suited to Africa’s soil, weather and needs -- they hold tremendous promise for Africa’s smallholder farmers, said for the President of AGRA,  Jane Karaku.

By helping African farmers access improved seeds, inputs, and complementary technologies, the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership helps boost agricultural productivity, food security, and economic growth in sub-Sahara Africa.

To kick off its new coordination role, the Seeds and Technologies Partnership held an inaugural workshop this week in Nairobi, Kenya, where USAID and AGRA representatives consulted with key government, research, donor and private-sector partners on strategies for coordination and collaboration.