30,000 Ghanaian farmers to get market through School Feeding Programme

About 30,000 smallholder farmers in the country are to get market for their produce through the  Ghana  School Feeding Programme (GSFP)  as part of  a four –year project by the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) , geared towards  improving Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding Programmes.

The Project funded with a 7.5 million-dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially women, by the provision of market opportunities for their produce to national school feeding programmes.

A press statement in Accra said that SNV would also work in collaboration with the Ministries of Local Government and Agriculture, GSFP National and Regional Secretariat, Ghana Health Service, International NGOs and Faith Based Organisations (FBOS) in 20 pilot districts to help address the problem.

It noted that despite the efforts that had been made to procure local food for GSFP, buying food crops from smallholder farmers in the beneficiary communities in a planned, coordinated, participatory and strategic manner still remained a challenge.

The statement said it was therefore important to explore possible supply/procurement chains for GSFP, to strengthen the linkages between GSFP as a market and caterers, processors and smallholder farmers for active participation and ownership of these local institutions to enable the farmers to gain access to the market.  Therefore creating alternative viable markets for these smallholder farmers will greatly boost local production and enhance incomes”, it said.

Mr Neil Ghosh, Director of SNV US said in the statement that the grant would  help SVN to give farmers the practical knowledge and skills necessary to improve their livelihoods and benefit the whole communities by creating jobs, “We are very proud to carry out this endeavour with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and our programme partners”, he said.

Arlene Mitchell, Deputy Director, Agricultural Development at the Gates Foundation noted that farmers should be able to meet the quality and quantity requirements that children deserved and assist communities in making the programmes accountable in the long-term to ensure the success of home-grown programmes.

“We are excited to support SNV and its work with African governments on programmes that benefit both children’s health and nutrition as well as smallholder farmers who have access to new markets” she said.

The project is expected to be carried out in countries like Kenya and Mali, making it a total number of 78,000 farmers in the Sub- Saharan Africa that would gain access to previously denied markets, and improve livelihoods and incomes, whiles millions of children would also receive better nutrition through their schools.

Source: GNA

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