Mr Robert Jackson, United States of America (US) Ambassador to Ghana, on Thursday said that the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (US AID) has invested $145 million in Ghana to aid socio-economic transformation.
He said more than half of the amount was being invested in the Northern parts of the country alone in the areas of agriculture, health and education with the aim of bridging the development gap between the Northern and Southern part of the country.
Mr Jackson was interacting with the media in Tamale in the Northern Region on Thursday as part a two-day official tour of the area where he inspected the various US AID-funded projects under its “Feed the Future Initiative”.
The Feed the Future Initiative is a US global food security and poverty-reduction intervention through the development of high-yielding seeds to boost commercial agriculture involving small-holder farmers especially women in rural communities.
In Ghana, the US AID is the lead US agency implementing the Initiative to support agricultural research to bring cutting-edge technologies including high yielding seed varieties in legumes and cereals to farmers in the Northern Region to increase their on-farm yields and improve their incomes.
The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) together with other private Initiatives, are the institutions which have benefited from investments to spearhead the development of high-yielding seed varieties in maize, cow-pea and Soybean.
The Ambassador inaugurated one such state-of-the art seed laboratories in the Tamale Metropolis, built for the production of high quality, hybrid and high-yielding seeds for smallholder farmers.
He expressed satisfaction about the field visits stressing that the US through the USAID would continue to invest significantly in the northern part of the country to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living of the people.
Mr Jackson in course of the media discourse, assured Ghanaians that the US Government was very committed to see Ghana come out of the 2016 polls very peaceful and united noting that the country has held successful general elections since 1992 and this year’s would not be different.
He allayed fears about the two Guantanamo Bay detainees who had been brought into the country assuring that they were under tight security and are harmless.
Dr Ahmed Yakubu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture commended the USAID for initiating laudable projects including Feed the Future Initiative.
He said improved seeds would significantly transform the country’s agricultural productivity and sustain the food basket of the Northern part of the country and appealed to the USAID to assist in a total transformation of Ghana’s agriculture.
Mr Michael Dockrey, Chief of Party of the Feed the Future project of the USAID said the project is investing $22 million to improve agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana.
He noted that the project was introducing new farming technologies to improve crop yield and has been assisting over 500,000 farmers annually most of who were women stressing that the capacity of women agriculturist needed to be boosted.
Mr Dockrey indicated that water provision was very key to the project’s successes and as such has been assisting some farming communities to get irrigation facilities for dry season farming adding, “This is the surest way to bring food security to Ghana”.