More funds secured to ensure food security – Minister
Mr Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, says government has secured a budgetary support of 19 million Canadian dollars to help tackle food insecurity and fight poverty.
The project, he said, was aimed at helping about 21,000 farmers and their households to produce more food for their families, generate higher and more stable incomes from diversified sources.
It is to also establish a threshold of resilience from which they could resist shocks and pursue more market-oriented growth opportunities.
Mr Kwetey was speaking at the opening of a two-day National Agricultural Policy Forum organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and SEND-Ghana with support from TrustAfrica.
The forum was to reflect on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) implementation, discuss the Malabo declaration and review Ghana’s performance in meeting agricultural related Millennium Development Goals and move forward to the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the project would offer transformative and sustainability solutions to causes of lack of access to sufficient nutritious food and the vulnerability to food storage, while promoting community and household resilience to external shocks.
The Minister said 646.2 kilometres of feeder roads have been constructed to link farms and improve access to marketing centres and to show government’s commitment to the sector, there had been a budget increase to the Ministry to the tune of GH₵ 501 million as against GH₵ 411 million in 2015.
“An amount of GH₵ 163 million of ABFA has been allocated in the 2016 budget for the fertilizer and seed subsidy programme to ensure that fertilizer and certified seeds are timely and available to peasant farmers,” he said.
He said to cushion farmers against unreliable rainfall, an amount of GH₵ 63 million has been earmarked from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) to support irrigation.
Mr Kwetey added that government has spent GH₵ 120 million in supporting the rice, cashew and agro-processing sector, adding that government would also import more tractors, combine harvesters and other mechanisation equipment for farmers.
Mr Abdul-Rahman Mohammed, the National President of PFAG, commended government for increased allocation in the budget for the fertilizer and seed subsidy.
He appealed to government to ensure that the fertilizer reached farmers on time for the needed impact to be felt.
Dr Charles Abugre, Chief Executive Officer, of the Savannah Accelerated Development Agency (SADA), said more efforts was needed to ensure an agriculture led-transformation to improve the economy.
“We all need to pull together support for commercial farmers to transform the economy,” he said.