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Ghana to benefit from $63m agric initiative to curb food importation

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riceAn African-based agricultural initiative which aims to reduce food importation and boost crop production is set to be implemented in Ghana and 19 African nations.

Funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with $63.24 million, the Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC) is to help African farmers in these countries to get a new window of opportunity to significantly increase crop yields.

According to officials, the project is expected to create knowledge on the tested innovations with farmers.

“The plan is to reduce food importation from other continents and offer farmers better access to markets, improve livelihoods, and tackle poverty through enhanced capacities of beneficiaries to sustainable development in the region,” joint partners of the project said in a statement July 15, 2013.

It adds that the SARD-SC project will raise the productivity of maize, cassava, wheat, and rice by 20% in the 20 selected countries, and about a million farmers will directly benefit from the project.

The five-year, multi-CGIAR center initiative will run until 2016, and will be co-implemented by three Africa-based CGIAR centers – the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.

“Narrowing the yield gap is key for African farmers, and it will help them to compete globally and to feed themselves,” said Dr Chrysantus Akem, the Project Coordinator of SARD-SC.

By Ekow Quandzie

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