GHANA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has partnered with the government of Ghana to facilitate private sector investment in sustainable value chains associated with commercial maize, soybean and rice production, with an integrated poultry value chain.
The initiative undertaken through the Savannah Agriculture Value Chain Development Project will be backed by US$27.9m grant from the bank’s African Development Fund.
Set to be implemented by Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture from 2023 to 2027, the project will support farmers with farm inputs to produce climate resilient crops.
It will also support the production of certified seeds by commercial farmers and work closely with the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, to equip smallholder farmers in a bid to improve planting and crop husbandry.
Further to that, it will enhance the capacity of Micro and Small-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and offer skills development for youth and women through sustainable entrepreneurship and mentoring programs, especially in the poultry value chain.
This project will include the enforcement of community by-laws and promote the use of hybrid seeds, good agriculture practices and sound water, climate resilience and adaptation and integrated pest management.
At least 150, 000 people will be impacted indirectly and 50,000 directly, in addition to expansion of production land by at least 8,000 hectares of new rice, maize and soybean.
Overall, it will increase the incomes of farmers and support household nutrition, especially in more vulnerable women-headed households.
The Bank’s Acting Vice-President of its Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Complex, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, said building local capacity, would help reduce imports and help Ghana to mitigate the negative impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global food systems.
It would also alleviate the impact of climate change, in line with the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility, she noted.
“This builds on Bank’s earlier investments in the savannah areas of Ghana, putting 20,000 hectares of maize and soybean under production using conservation agriculture practices and technologies.
“This project has come at a time that Ghana seeks to enhance domestic production and reduce imports. These are the key objectives of Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy,” said Martin Fregene, the Bank’s Sector Director of Agriculture and Industry.
Liberia receives US$5.12m from AfDB to boost agriculture production
In other related news, AfDB has approved financing for the Emergency Food Production Program in Liberia, paving the way for the government to support farmers as they increase climate resilient food production and mitigate the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The funding includes a grant of US$2.28 million and a loan of US$2.84 million from the Bank Group’s Transition Support Facility.
Agriculture is a major part of Liberia’s economy. It contributes about 26% to GDP. The country’s major crops are rubber, rice, cassava, bananas and palm oil, with cassava and rice being the primary staple food crops.
Overall agricultural productivity, however, is low. This is because of such factors as weak basic infrastructure, including farm equipment and inadequate farm-to-market roads.
There is also limited application of fertilizers and pesticides, and inadequate food storage capacity. The civil conflict the country experienced between 1989 and 2003 and the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015 compounded challenges even further.
Nearly 50% of Liberia’s population is considered food insecure, and childhood malnutrition is persistent. Currently, 35% of children under 5 are stunted and 15% of these children are underweight.
The food production program in Liberia is designed to increase climate resilient food production for Africa’s farmers in the wake of such global shocks as the war in Ukraine and rising fuel and fertilizer prices.
The Liberia program—which will be implemented from 2022 to 2024—will enable the government to provide direct smart subsidies (that create incentives for private sector investment in the inputs market without distorting the market), to vulnerable farmers.
The financing will also enable the government to facilitate farmers’ access to improved seeds and fertilizers.
The African Emergency Food Production Facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds.
It will increase access to agricultural fertilizers and enable them to rapidly produce 38 million tons of food – a $12 billion increase in food production in just two years.
The facility has already benefitted 26 countries in Africa with 26 programs worth US$1.257 billion.