Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation approves $7m for IITA commercial products project in Ghana, other African countries

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given approval for a $7 million International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) project in some African countries including Ghana.

The funds will be applied for the second phase of the Commercial Products (COMPRO-II) project, says IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga.

The COMPRO-II project aims to institutionalize quality assurance mechanisms and facilitate the rapid dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase yields and improve the food security of smallholder farmers in sub-Sahara Africa, IITA has said in a statement copied to ghanabusinessnews.com.

IITA tags the project as the ‘Institutionalization of quality assurance mechanism and dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase crop yields and improve food security of smallholder farmers in the region.

Explaining the project Sanginga said, “The plan is to raise awareness among over two million smallholder farmers on effective and profitable commercial products by 2016 through public-private partnership.”

According to IITA, of these households, 420,000 will have tested at least one effective commercial product and at least 50 percent of these will have adopted the technology and achieve a 15-30 percent yield increase with substantial impacts on food security and income.

The phase II of the project proposes to:

(i)   transit these technologies into Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda,

(ii)  institutionalize regulatory and quality control processes,

(iii) disseminate effective products through public-private partnerships,

(iv) develop communication tools, and

(v)  strengthen human capacity.

At the end of the project, IITA says, more farmers are expected to confidently use these products because their safety, efficacy, and quality will be ensured through institutionalized regulatory and quality assurance mechanisms.

The statement indicated that apart from IITA that will lead the project, COMPRO-II  will work with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – Soil Health Program (AGRA), Farm Input Promotions (FIPS), the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Research Area of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (TSBF-CIAT), the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), and universities, national research organizations, extension organizations, and quality control entities in the different target countries.

The COMPRO-II project will be officially launched on May 16 and 17 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the statement said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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