Poverty in Upper West is reflection of poor investment

InvestmentMr Mohammed Muniru Lemuna, Minister of Agriculture has stated that the high poverty levels in the Upper West Region is a reflection of lack of investment in the agriculture sector.

He said the region has very good educational institutions and produced some of the best engineers, lawyers, administrators and doctors in the country.

“So one can safely draw the conclusion that the region is poor because agriculture has not received the needed investment and attention as given to education and health”, he emphasised.

Mr Lemuna stated this while addressing participants at the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Promotion Programme (GASIP) Regional Sensitisation forum in Wa.

“Agriculture is the main driver of the economy of Ghana as a whole and this region in particular,” he noted.

Mr Lemuna said there is no argument that high performance of the agriculture sector would benefit health and education as food would be available to reduce malnutrition.

“So it is only obvious that as we remove schools under trees and construct clinics, we should also at least provide logistics for the agricultural staff to do their work.”

Mr Lemuna gave the assurance that government had taken steps to address many of the challenges facing farmers.

He said tractors and their accessories as well as combine harvesters have been imported and would be cleared to meet the cropping season.

Mr Lemuna announced that the fertilizer subsidy have now been computerised to ensure that farmers get the commodity and not smugglers.

On access to finance, he hinted that government is working with Bank of Ghana to introduce a crop insurance scheme.

He said the scheme would ensure that when their crops fail due to natural causes, they would benefit, however international or man-made disasters would not be covered.

GASIP is an agricultural value chain programme designed to be private-sector and demand-driven in approach to facilitate and promote agribusiness.

It is also designed to address most the challenges faced by farmers.

In terms of funding, Mr Lemuna said the government is providing $7.5 million and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) loan of $71.60 million over six years.

IFAD had also provided a grant of 10.0million dollars to mitigate the effects of climate change under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme (ASAP) bringing its total financing for the GASIP to 86.60million dollars.

Contributions from the financial institutions stand  at 17.5million dollars, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies – $1.7million and $4.6 million beneficiaries contribution, bringing GASIP total financing to around $113.0 million.

Source: GNA

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