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Smallholders hold the key to food security in Africa – Ahwoi

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Kwesi Ahwoi - Agric Minister

Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said small-holder farmers in Africa can play a major role in the continents’ quest to achieving food security targets.

He said developing measures to support small holders to practice modern and commercial farming, could make the continent the bread-basket of the world.

“For the content to be feed her people and liberate ourselves from the abject poverty, small-holder farmers need to put an end to the subsistent farming and switch to modern farming where they would use improved seeds, irrigation, ready market, storage and enough technology to prevent post harvest loses,” he said.

Mr Ahwoi was speaking on the topic: “Bread-Basket Strategy” at a media briefing at the on-going Alliance for Green Revolution African (AGRA) forum in Accra on Friday.

He noted that agriculture provides big businesses in Africa, where between 60 and 70 per cent people were employed in the sector with a contribution to GDP of about 40 per cent for most economies.

“…yet the continent is not able to feed its population. I think something is wrong somewhere and we need to find solutions to it,” he said.

Touching on efforts by the Government of Ghana to address food challenges, Mr Ahwoi said four areas had been mapped to implement the bread-basket project in Ghana.

“We have earmark Accra Plains, Northern Region and Afram Plains in the Eastern Region, where farmers will be provided with the necessary support including, agro chemicals, farm implements, storage facilities and certified seeds all in a bid to increase crop yield and reduce food imports in the country,” he said.

Mr Ahwoi said AGRA’s programme provides support to farmers in areas such as seedlings, soil health, market viability, supportive policies and innovative finance.

The aim, he said, was to bring transformational change in the agriculture sector and to complement government’s already existing programmes.

Dr Namanga Ngongi, President of AGRA, said in Ghana Green Revolution had implemented projects that aimed at supporting farmers with inputs and agro chemical.

He mentioned Ghana Agro-Dealer Development Project, which is aimed at supporting about 2,200 agro dealers and 150 seed producers to ensure increase productivity, incomes and well-being of about 850,000 small-holder farmers.

He said the interventions by AGRA particularly to link farmers to market, would help to remove the frustrations farmers go through in selling their produce and boost their desire to produce more to meet the country’s food needs.

Source: GNA

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