The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says 90,000 smallholder farmers have received investment from government in the last two years.

The ministry revealed this during its first Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment programme stakeholder meeting held at the ministry’s projects office in Cantonments, Accra.

The maiden stakeholder meeting was on the theme: “Consolidating the Gains and Strengthening Smallholder Farmer Organizations”.

The Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme is a government initiative designed to provide a framework for a long-term financing engagement for private led, pro-poor agricultural value chain development in Ghana.

“The Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) is currently being financed by an IFAD [International Fund for Agricultural Development] loan of US$36 million and an ASAP [Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme] grant of US$10million.

The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The goal and objectives of GASIP is to sustainably reduce poverty in rural Ghana by increasing profitability and resilience to climate change of agribusinesses and smallholder farmers.”

The National Programme Coordinator, Klutse Kudomor indicated that the switch in management for the programme has increased the implementation status from 12% in 2015 to 78% in 2019.

“GASIP became effective in 2015 and was expected to close by June 2021. However, the programme is being considered for extension so as to complete outstanding activities. Before the current management took over in April 2019, GASIP implementation status was 12%, a situation which was leading to a premature closure of the programme by IFAD for non-performance. However, due to hardwork, IFAD has reclassified the status of the programme as a performing one,” he said.

Mr. Kudomor stated that the farmers benefited directly from production inputs and were trained in good agricultural practices. He went on to highlight some benefits enjoyed indirectly.

“They were also trained in good agricultural practices, climate change resilience, food safety and quality, operational excellence, food processing, among others. In terms of equipment and machinery, 28 tractors, 600 power tillers and hand-held rice harvesters were distributed to selected smallholder farmer organizations,” he highlighted.

The Ministry further revealed that the success of the investment programme has led to the development of a new programme – Livelihood and Productivity Enhancement of Smallholder Farmers – worth US$105 million.

“GASIP has demonstrated that when given more resources, the programme will execute more activities that will cause a catalytic transformation, among smallholder farmers. In this regard, IFAD, MOFA and other partners have developed a concept note for a new programme – Livelihood and Productivity Enhancement of Smallholder Farmers (PROSPER). This US$105 million programme will help consolidate the current gains of GASIP and expand the activities to cover other value chains. IFAD is contributing 60 million USD,” Mr. Kudomor revealed.