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IFAD, EU completes €20m food facility programme in Ghana, other West African countries

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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Union (EU) say they have successfully completed a €20 million Food Facility (EUFF) programme implemented in five West African countries including Ghana.

The programme was run over a period of eighteen months, covering the West African countries of Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

It improved the quality of seeds which grew food security in West Africa through innovative production techniques, according to an IFAD statement issued April 2, 2012.

“Together with our partners, the Economic Community of West African States and the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics, we have improved the access to high quality seeds for smallholder farmers in the region and have trained them in production and farming techniques,” the statement quoted Adriane Del Torto, IFAD’s project coordinator for the EUFF, as saying at a workshop held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

“This has supported more than 200,000 rural families to achieve higher yields, increase their income and improve their living conditions,” Del Torto added.

The €1 billion EUFF was created as a response to the soaring food prices in developing countries between 2007-2008, to fund projects that would improve  access to agricultural inputs and services, increase the agricultural productive capacity and address the basic food needs in the West African states.

“With the Food Facility, we have not only provided immediate relief but have sustainably contributed to improve the food security situation in West Africa,” said Didier Nils, Representative of the EU in Côte d’Ivoire.

Building on existing IFAD-supported projects and considering national food security strategies, the funds provided by the EU for the West Africa programme, were among others utilized to introduce the ‘minisett technology’ in Ghana. This technology enables smallholders to produce yam seeds with less input and higher yields than traditional methods. In Côte d’Ivoire, the implementing partners established a process to produce certified rice and maize seeds to ensure use of quality seeds.

By Ekow Quandzie

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