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Translate agricultural policies into action – AGRA

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Dr Augustine Langyintuo, Policy Officer of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), on Tuesday urged African leaders to focus on translating agricultural policies into real action.

He said there was the need to have an appropriate policy and support systems to drive agricultural growth and transformation across Africa.

Dr Langyintou made the call in an interview with Ghana News Agency at the launch of the newly established Ghana Policy Nodes and Hub in Accra.

The policy, first of its kind launched in Africa, is aimed at developing progressive national agricultural policies to increase productivity, household incomes and assure household food security.

It is a group of existing policy institutions that have technical expertise and commitment to work to address policy bottlenecks in priority areas.

Dr Langyintuo explained that under the Ghana Policy Action Node, each node would have a coordinator to coordinate its activities and that the policy hubs were a loose network of Policy Action Nodes.

He said each hub would have a coordinator to liaise with all the constituent nodes to ensure harmonisation of policy messages for consistency and clarity.

Dr Langyintuo noted that objectives of the Ghana policy nodes and hub included, improving seed policies to increase crop varieties, improve soil health technologies, expand national and regional markets and trade for staple, food crops and securing land and property rights to accelerate investment in sustainable soil, land and water management.

He said AGRA was working to increase productivity, profitability and sustainability of smallholder farmers by driving comprehensive changes along the agricultural value chain.

Dr Langyintuo noted that AGRA’S programmes and partnerships targeted at problems faced by Ghana’s smallholder farmers through improving farmer’s access to good seed, fertilizer and sustainable farming practices to credit, crop storage and a strong farmer-based organisation.

He said majority of farmers did not have access to functional systems, affordable credit, stable prices and as a result less than 5% of farmers in Ghana used improved varieties of maize and fertilizer use average of eight kilogrammes per hectare.

Dr Langyintuo said AGRA had expanded farmers access to affordable credit, and less than 10 per cent of lending in Ghana was directed towards agriculture with interest rates ranging between 30 to 40 per cent.

He said in 2009, AGRA in collaboration with the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) and Stanchart Bank, launched a three-year programme to provide $25 million in affordable loans to smallholders, agro-dealers and small agriculture businesses.

Dr Langyintuo acknowledged the need for a green revolution which must be driven by a financial revolution for agriculture and decisive action by governments to address climate change.

Source: GNA

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