GHANA – The United States Agency for International Development (USIAD), has launched a US$35.9 million grant package to support Ghana’s agriculture systems to ensure food security and improve the livelihood of about 200,000 individuals.
The five-year project is set to provide the needed finance and input to increase production of maize, shea, bambara beans, soybeans, cowpea, groundnuts, tomatoes, pepper, onion, mango, moringa, and their value addition.
Known as the Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (MSR) Activity, the project would benefit smallholder farmers, particularly, women and youth, as well as out-growers, buyers, processors and exporters.
Through the grant facility, which takes effect from March 2023, smallholder farmers and other value chain actors would have access to a financing amount between US$5,000 and US$25,000 for various projects.
It is expected that the project would increase off-farm employment and investment opportunities and help solve value chain challenges including single growing season, limited access to land, water, inputs and services and fragmented markets.
Mr Raymond Denteh, Agribusiness and Financial Services Team Leader, MSR Activity, Ghana, said the essence of the grant project was to make sure that the market system was more resilient, robust and inclusive.
Mr Denteh in an interview with Ghana News Agency further highlighted that USAID would fast-track processes for beneficiaries to access the grant after four to eight weeks of vetting.
He said, “The project is to support and strengthen the agric market system for increased efficiency, productivity and investment to drive economic growth and increase incomes of households in catchment regions.”
He added, “We’ll target women and youth and people with disabilities and focus on commodities that would promote those elements. We want to make sure that the market system is resilient and sustainable, and we’re really committed to it.”
Mr Eric Sunu, the Monitoring and evaluation Manager for the Ghana MSR Activity also said that the grant would target private sector businesses and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), noting that applicants whose projects best aligned with the goals of the project would benefit.
Mr Sunu said, “The grant is for actors and businesses within the ecosystem to use to implement activities sustainably to will benefit actors and meet the target that has been set out by the donor to the project.”
The initiative will trigger future growth of Ghana’s agriculture sector which has mostly been on an upward growth trend and enable the country to diversify its agro-allied activities from its main cash crop cocoa.