The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, G-CAP has been described as key in efforts towards making the sector regain its identity as the highest contributor to the country’s growth.
The 5 year project which started in 2012 is estimated at a cost of 145 million dollars.
It seeks to strategically empower small-holder farmers of rice, maize, soya as well as fruits and vegetables within the Accra plains and SADA zones to commercialize their activities – ultimately to the country’s economic benefit. This is through attraction of investments for commercial farmers supposed to transfer technical and entrepreneurial skills to the small holder farmers.
G-CAP’s Technical Advisor, Ram Bhavnani explained to JOY BUSINESS, the initiative should turn around the dwindling fortunes of the agric sector.
‘We have over the years used extension services to transfer technology to the smallholder farmers. But the design of G-CAP is to use the nucleus commercial farmer to transfer technology to the small holder farmer. So its private sector transfer technology to the private sector for mutual benefits unlike before where its was the public sector transferring technology to the private sector which had the business element as the missing link. And we could also use the other small-holders who are not benefiting from the nucleus out-grower arrangements as a control to see the difference’ he noted.
The project’s Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant, Charles Nornoo even breaks it down further to justify the initiative as the panacea to the sector’s woes.
‘When you have a successful business man who has tested his technology and the small farmers have seen him do it, its easier for him to transfer that technology to small farmers as opposed to the extension officer who probably must have not even farmed before. And if that businessman is given about 200 out-growers and they are not successful, he loses that money and so he has the interest to ensure that he does the technology transfer very well to guarantee recouping his money. Take for example VEGPRO, if they are supporting about 250 farmers to produce baby-corn. If they’re harvesting every week, that goes to add to the quantities they’re exporting, the quality must be the same and so after about a year or two those farmers could do it on their own’ he explained.
Apart from the private sector financing, the initiative also seeks to ensure increased access to secured land and market to better the lots of the small holder farmers. The project is being implemented under the auspices of the Agric Ministry in collaboration with the World Bank which is providing a 100 million dollar loan and the USAID which is also offering a grant of 45 million dollars.
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