According to the release, its Board of Directors Thursday March 22, 2012, approved the credit facility to support the Ghana government’s efforts to scale up the development of commercial agriculture in the country. The government has an ongoing project on commercial agriculture.
“The Commercial Agriculture Project seeks to facilitate access to land, strengthen Ghana’s investment promotion infrastructure for attracting agri-business investors, and promote public private partnerships and small-holder linkages in the Accra Plains and the SADA Zone,” it said.
The release explained that the government of Ghana is currently implementing a nation-wide Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II – 2010 -2015) focusing on six priority themes: Food Security and Emergency Preparedness; Increased Growth in Incomes; Increased Competitiveness and Enhanced Integration into Domestic and International Markets; Sustainable Management of Land and Environment; Science and Technology Applied in Food and Agriculture Development; Improved Institutional Coordination.
The Bank also outlined the project, indicating that, the Commercial Agricultural Project, which is designed to support the implementation of the above priorities, is made up of four main components:
Component 1: Strengthening investment promotion infrastructure and facilitating secure access to land ($11.8 million; to be complemented by USAID co-financing of $5.9 million) – This component will promote a secure investment climate that clarifies and strengthens the rights and obligations of investors, government and affected communities, and support an improved mechanism for facilitating access to land by reducing the search costs to potential investors through an expansion of a database of land suitable and available for investors and by building on nascent mechanisms for actively matching potential investors with suitable land owners.
Component 2: Securing Public Private Partnerships (PPPS) and small-holder linkages in the Accra Plains ($45.4 million) – This component will conclude transactions for PPPs in an irrigation investment in the Accra Plains. The project area includes the existing Kpong Irrigation Project as well as an expansion of an additional 7,000ha under a PPP arrangement, inclusive of commercial anchor farms and associated out-growers.
Component 3: Securing PPPs and small-holder linkages in the SADA Zone ($29.3 million; to be complemented by USAID co-financing of $35.0 million) – This component will involve support to the identification and realization of private investments in inclusive commercial agricultural arrangements in the agricultural value chain through PPPs, complementary public investments, and technical assistance concentrated in the SADA zone.
Component 4: Project management including M&E ($14.3 million; to be complemented by USAID co-financing $7.2 million) – This component finances the operations of the project implementing agencies. It will also finance the various monitoring and evaluation and community engagement and communications functions.
Chris Jackson, the Bank’s Senior Economist and project Task Team Leader was cited as saying: “This project reflects the Bank’s continued support for Ghana’s agricultural development. By focusing on socially inclusive commercial agriculture it will improve the enabling environment for farmers while also making sure that local communities can participate in new agriculture based opportunities.”
Commenting, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kwesi Ahwoi, said, “the project directly supports the government’s Commercial Agriculture agenda, and is a key pillar in our efforts to modernize agriculture.”
Ghana’s agricultural sector contributes about 60% of employment and adds about 40 per cent to GDP. The contribution of agriculture to Ghana’s economic development are varied, ranging from food security, job creation to rural development. A bulk of Ghana’s population is rural based and involved in agriculture.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi