Business News of Friday, 14 July 2017
Smallholder farmers in the country can now heave a sigh of relief following the decision by the Government of Brazil to release the second tranche of a $96m dollar facility to Ghana for the supply of agricultural machinery to support local farmers.
The deal also involved the procurement of logistics for the implementation of the Government’s One Village One Dam Policy which is set to kickstart soon.
The agreement to release the second trunche of the facility, valued at $33million dollars, was reached after a tough but fruitful discussion between the Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and his Brazilian counterpart, Excellency Blairo Maggi, in his office in Brasilia, on Thursday.
The discussion between the two ministers also touched on the state of the cocoa industry in the two countries and areas of possible collaboration to promote the chocolate sector for value addition.
AGREEMENT DETAILS The amount forms part of an existing $96m Dollar soft loan for the revamp of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The facility will go into the supply of basic machinery for smallholder farmers under the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs Policy.
This is in line with the decision by Government of Ghana to step down the Tractor Program in favour of the supply logistics that will benefit as many farmers as possible, particularly those who do not have the means to purchase tractors and other heavy duty machines for their farming activities.
The logistics will include those to be used for preparation, planting, application of fertilizers, as well as harvesting of food crops. In this regard, specific emphasis has been placed on small irrigation purposes under the government’s one village one dam policy in the northern savanna zones. Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in the discussion, reiterated the determination of government to transform the agricultural sector permanently.
He indicated that the objective requires the application of technology to benefit as many farmers as possible in an effort to improve their production and income whilst raising farm output to an unprecedented level in the history of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The Food and Agriculture Minister of Ghana therefore expressed gratitude to his Brazilian counterpart for agreeing to release the funds despite initial hesitation and pledged that government will judiciously utilize the facility for the benefit of farmers.
MINISTER HOLDS DISCUSSIONS WITH MANUFACTURERS
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Minister of Ghana has held discussions with key manufacturers and major suppliers of farming equipments in Sao Paulo, the industrial hub of the South American country.
He was accompanied on the visit by the acting Director of Agricultural Engineering Services Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Aboagye, as well as agents of the manufacturers in Ghana.
Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto emphasized that government’s policy is geared towards the benefit of the smallholder farmers hence the decision to review the large tractor programme.