US$56.52 million project for famers in Northern, Upper East Regions
Selected farmers in the Northern and Upper East regions are to benefit from a US$56.52 million African Development Bank loan facility to fund an initiative dubbed ‘Savannah Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project ().’
The project, which is targeted at 50,000 farmers, will be implemented in Savelugu, Nanton, Tolon, Kumbungu, West Gonja and West Mamprusi districts in the Northern Region, while in the Upper East Region, the Builsa South District is the only beneficiary.
The Project Coordinator for SAPIP, Mr Felix N. Darimaani, who stated this at a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop at Fumbisi last Friday, explained that the project sought to transform the agricultural value chain in food and nutrition security, jobs and wealth creation.
The farmers, he said, would be supported to improve on the production of maize, rice, soya beans and vegetables in the respective districts.
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Mr Darimaani, the project was linked to other initiatives such as the Ghana Shared Development Agenda II (GSGDA II), Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP) and Planting for Food and Jobs.
He said by the end of the first year, the project was expected to supply 26,400 tonnes of fertiliser and 4,285 tonnes of certified seeds to the farmers.
Four seed centres would also be rehabilitated and the volume of foundation seeds of rice increased from 96mt to 5,400mt; maize, from 120mt to 4,000mt and soya bean, from 140mt to 4,000mt annually.
Mechanised land preparation, husbandry and harvesting would also be increased to 10,000 hectares annually. Water management schemes would be rehabilitated and new ones constructed.
"The project is expected to reduce the prevalence rate and numbers of children stunting from 33 per cent to 20 per cent while the percentage of children aged between six and 23 months consuming more than four food groups, increased from 33.3 per cent to 50 per cent by the end of the project," the coordinator added.
The Upper East Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Francis Annor, said if much attention was paid to the rice sector, there would be no need for Ghana to continue importing rice.
The Chief of Gbedembilisi, Nab Atirekpere Amalugsi III, claimed the area had been neglected by the Builsa South District Assembly, arguing that farmers were not being supported to cultivate the large tracts of arable land in the district.