IITA, USAID invest $15m into Ghana’s agric sector

farmerThe International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) with funding from the United State Agency for International Development has injected 15 million dollars into the country’s agriculture to increase food production and livestock rearing.

The five-year project, which started in 2012 and expected to end in 2016, would benefit over four million farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions in 25 beneficiary communities.

Dr. Asamoah Larbi, IITA Representative in Ghana, said this on Tuesday at Tibali in the Savelugu/Nanton District during a field visit to inspect the pilot demonstration farms.

He said Ghana and Mali were the only West African countries benefiting from the project.

He said the project was comprehensive consisting of new varieties of maize, cowpea, soyabean and introduction of new farming technologies and practices that would increase production to 20-30 per cent and to household incomes and nutrition especially women and children under five.

Dr. Larbi said capacity building of farmers and agricultural students constituted an important component of the project saying that “Five PHD students and some seven other Masters of Arts (MA) degree students will be using the fields of the project for their practical studies”.

He said more extensive work would be done on research for development in products and livestock in an integrated manner where soil fertility management would address the declining natural resources.

Mr Adam Nashiru, President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana who chaired the function, said the project was in line with government’s policy direction of providing food security to the populace thus making food easily available and affordable.

He urged farmers to take advantage of the positive sides of the project to learn new ideas and skills that would propel them into commercial farming.

Mr Abubakari Baba, Savelugu/Nanton Municipal Planning Officer, said the District Assembly would take the project as its own and handle it with care.

He said the area has over 90 per cent of its population in agriculture and urged them to participate fully in the implementation stages to ensure its s

Source: GNA

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