Sixteen districts to benefit from $17m Agric Value Chain project

Sixteen districts in the Northern Region are to benefit from a 17 million-dollar Agriculture Value Chain and Mentorship Project (AVCMP) aimed at addressing low agriculture productivity and food insecurity.

The districts are the major producers of rice, soyabean and maize.

They are East and Central Gonja, Savalugu/Nanton, Tolon/Kumbungu, West and East Mamprusi, Gushegu, Karaga, Yendi, Chereponi, Saboba, Nanumba North and Nanumba South as well as Kpandai.

Dr Stephen Nutsugah, the Director of the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (SARI of CSIR), said this when he briefed a team from Danida on the progress of the project on Thursday in Tamale.

The project is targeting 34,000 smallholder farmers and 680 farmer-base organisations.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) project, which is been funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), has three components and would be jointly implemented by SARI of CSIR, the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) and the Ghana Agricultural Associations’ Business Information Center (GAABIC).

Dr Nutsugah said the project would help address challenges including poor soil health, low use of improved seeds and fertilizers, poor crop management practices, insufficient agriculture marketing system, limited access to credit and high transaction costs.

Dr Wilson Dogbe, Head of Rice Programm at SARI of CSIR, explained that the three-year project would develop entrepreneurial and technical skills of Famer Base Organization (FBOs) and smallholder farmer, agro-dealers and also mentor the group in business development and how to access financial service.

“It will also link agro-dealers to fertilizer suppliers and seed producers as well as connect small and medium enterprise, agro-dealers to FBOs and domestic and international market”, he said.

Dr Dogbe said a component of the project would also help develop agricultural business centres for provision of processing and cultivation equipment services.

Dr. Kofi Debrah, IFDC Country Representative, said AVCMP seeks to complement governments to ensure food security and developing the region’s agricultural sector into an agro-industrial economy.

Touching on the role of the three implementing institutions he explained that IFDC’s mandate was to increase rice and soybean farmers’ access to output markets by building the entrepreneurial and technical capacity of SMEs.

“This includes strengthening SMEs’ linkages with domestic, national and international markets, agro-dealers, agribusiness service providers, FBOs and farmers.

IFDC will increase SMEs’ access to commercial finance and farmers’ access to storage facilities and processing services,” he said.

Dr Debrah said GAABIC would also help improve agro-dealers’ business management skills and their capacity to provide customers with fertilizers and seeds.

SARI of CSIR he added would be required to train FBOs and their farmer-members in integrated soil fertility management (IFSM) and encourage its widespread adoption.

Through the mentorship of stakeholders along the agricultural value chain, business growth and productivity are expected to continue after the project ends.

Source: GNA

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