Seven-year agric programme launched for north-western Ghana
A seven-year agribusiness development programme estimated at GH¢900 million for the north-western part of the country was launched in Wa in the Upper West Region last Friday.
The Market-Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP) covers the whole of the Upper West Region and three adjoining districts in the newly created Savannah Region — North Gonja, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba and Mamprugu-Maagduri.
The European Union (EU) is funding the programme, which is being implemented by the German technical cooperation (GIZ) as part of its development support for the country.
A Minister of State in charge of Food and Agriculture, Dr Nurah Gyiele, launched the programme at an agricultural business fair where the agricultural potential of the areas earmarked for the programme was exhibited.
The fair was on the theme: “Exploring agri-business opportunities for investment in the Upper West Region.”
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Launching the programme, Dr Gyiele said it was aimed at supporting small-scale farmers to improve production and transform their livelihood.
Giving details, he said the programme was being implemented under three components, namely, agribusiness development, which will support integrated business models along selected value chains to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth; the resilience against climate change project, which will focus on the protection of natural resources, and the productive investment for sustainable agricultural development, which will address agricultural infrastructure such as water systems development and management, roads and energy.
Dr Gyiele said the area had a huge agricultural potential which, when harnessed, could raise the quality of life of the people and promote productivity in agriculture in the whole country.
He urged the youth to embrace the programme to change the story of the region from being one of the poorest in the country.
Dr Gyiele said the government had, since 2017, been investing in agriculture, with the aim of ending hunger by 2025, adding that its flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), which was launched two years ago had registered significant results, leading to the exportation of foodstuffs to neighbouring countries.
The Head of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Sector at the EU, Mr Roberto Schilliro, said the EU was happy to be involved in the programme and called on the youth to take agriculture as a business.
He said the EU decided to invest in the area because the area had the necessary conditions for growth in agriculture, except that the low development of the road network to facilitate the marketing of agricultural produce hindered investments.
The Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Mrs Verena Wiesner, said Germany and Ghana had been collaborating on agriculture as far back as independence to create opportunities for the youth.
She called for the development of the private sector to enhance opportunities for the youth.
The Country Director of the GIZ, Mr Alan Walsch, added his voice to calls for the development of the private sector, as he said, it held the key to the development of the country.
He recalled that a similar programme took place in Tamale in the Northern Region in 2012 and said it had assisted in transforming the society.
He called for the quick completion of the Wa Airport to facilitate the movement of people and goods between the north and the south.
The Head of Programmes at MOAP, Dr Elke Stumpf, pledged the readiness of the programme to ensure the success of the programme.