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AGRA strategy aims to increase food production in Northern Ghana, add $500m to GDP

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The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has developed a strategy aimed at increasing food production in Ghana’s Northern region and adding $500 million to the agriculture component of the country’s GDP.

The strategy AGRA says is to increase the cultivated area in the Northern region and roughly double average yields on existing land. To be carried on with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the breadbasket approach will see the concentration and coordination of agricultural development efforts in a region with the potential to produce a large share of Ghana’s staple food requirements.

According to AGRA, this focused approach will ultimately increase Ghana’s staple crop self-sufficiency, add up to $500m to the agricultural component of GDP, create up to 15 000 new jobs, and double the household incomes of close to 250,000 smallholders.

In a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com AGRA said the breadbasket strategy outlined in a 75-page document entitled Breadbasket Transformation of Ghana’s Northern Regions is the result of months of field work and thorough analysis of the current agricultural activity in the Northern region and its growth potential by a joint team of Ghana’s ministry of Agriculture, experts from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), AGRA and McKinsey Consultants.

The team developed recommendations on how to sustainably boost production of the Northern region’s main staple crops based on four key elements: the creation of smallholder aggregation units, the introduction of socially inclusive commercial farms, continued support for high value-added crops and prioritising government and donor efforts.

The Northern Region, which represents 41 per cent of Ghana’s total land area, has been identified by the government of Ghana and AGRA as a breadbasket area because of its high production potential for staple food crops such as rice, maize, sorghum and soybeans and large rural farming populations.’

The total public (government and donor) up-front investment needed for the strategy is estimated at approximately $110 million for aggregation units, infrastructure for commercial farms and transversal support. An additional operating cost of $8 million might be needed to ensure credit guarantees, extension support and governance. The upfront public investment would potentially be made over a ramp-up period of 5-10 years, resulting in annual public capital expenditure of $12 million.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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