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Deputy Agric Minister Hails AGRA’s rice & cassava consortia projects

Deputy Agric Minister Yaw Frimpong Addo has touted AGRA’s rice and cassava consortia projects since it has contributed significantly to the success of the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).

Speaking at  the closing event  of the KFW-AGRA program’s first phase held at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Accra on Thursday, June 29, he stated, “The success of PFJ can’t be mentioned without mentioning these projects in Ghana.”

From 2018 to 2022, the Public-Private Partnership for Competitive and Inclusive Rice Value Chain Development Project and the Ghana Cassava Industrialisation Project supported the implementation of two consortia grants to assist smallholder farmers cultivating rice and cassava.

The partners also contributed an extra grant to alleviate the Covid-19 pandemic’s secondary impacts on smallholder farmers in Ghana.

AGRA offered technical support to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, helping to create suitable public-private partnership models that would promote and mobilize investments in the rice and cassava value chains. The consortia bolstered production and marketing systems around lead processors.

This created commercial opportunities for rice and cassava farmers, leading to increased market access, long-term business relationships with processors, and improved access to services and products such as financing, high-quality inputs, productivity-enhancing technologies, and mechanization services.

The Deputy Minister further expressed gratitude to KfW and AGRA for funding and operationalizing the project, calling it “one of the key transformational projects in the rice and cassava value chains.”

AGRA, an African-led and African-based development organization, works to catalyze agricultural transformation in Africa. KfW, one of the project’s key partners, is a development bank, that strives to alleviate poverty and hunger globally.

Juliette Lampoh – Agroh, AGRA Ghana country manager, emphasized the project’s goal to create an agricultural value chain that benefits all stakeholders.

She acknowledged the need to carry women along in such an initiative, noting her outfit always considers women in every step it takes.

On his part, Kofi Atta Agyepong of KfW explained that their support for the project stems from a desire to “address causes of structural hunger and food insecurity, hidden hunger, malnutrition, among others.”

He added that the project aims to promote rural development, provide opportunities to escape poverty, build systems that enhance sustainable production and consumption, and protect the environment.

Ebow Graham of Hopeline Institute reported through a presentation that the project has trained approximately 103,000 rice farmers in good agronomic practices and mobilized and distributed 60,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer to farmers.

The project has also produced and provided breeder seeds, foundation seeds, and certified seeds to farmers.

300 farmer-based organizations have been mobilized to participate in the program and receive inputs on credit each season, thanks to the project.

Graham stated that the project facilitated the distribution of improved rice seeds under the PFJ campaign in partnership with the Ghana Rice Interprofessional Body (GRIB).

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Bashiru Musah, Program Officer at AGRA, speaking at the event, highlighted the project’s role in promoting inclusivity among agricultural sector stakeholders, fostering collaboration between research entities and seed companies, expanding agricultural extension services, and strengthening partnerships.

“Partnership is key because no one institution can do it on their own,” he said, acknowledging the contributions of key implementing partners such as the John A. Kufuor Foundation and Hopeline Institute.

Meanwhile, a second phase of the project is set to be rollout soon which is said to coincide with the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs Project.

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