By Cecil Mensah
The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with its development partners, has launched an initiative called, Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP), to assist farmers overcome the challenges in the Agricultural sector.
GASIP is a sector –wide national framework designed to support Agric-business development in the country.
The GASIP programme, seeks to use private sector driven approach for the development of commodity value chains that give opportunities for smallholder farmers to engage in profitable agri-business and continue to contribute to rural poverty reduction and improvement in rural livelihoods.
It is a programme developed by the government with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and other development partners.
Speaking at the launch, the sector Minister, Mr Fifi Kwetey , said agriculture holds the key to poverty reduction , increase in rural incomes , food security and economic growth of Africa.
He said, Ghana recognizes this fact, hence the deliberate efforts to scale up the investments in the sector.
According to him, Ghana has striven over the years to accord the agricultural sector a priority in her development agenda.
He explained that the challenges of the sector are not new, because low productivity continue to be a major challenge due to low adaptation of improved technologies, inadequate infrastructure such as roads, irrigation and storage facilities, weak linkages between production , marketing and processing; low access to finance and many more.
“Investment in agriculture in Ghana has increased over the last decades and Ghana has reached the famous Maputo declaration of Governments of allocating 10 percent of national expenditure to agriculture in the 2011”.
He noted that this expenditure refers to in the agricultural sector include agricultural roads, agricultural research and other related expenditures.
He added that globally, efforts continue to be made in this direction by international development agencies, individual countries and global alliances and agenda such as the Millennium Development Goals and its associates; such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Grow Africa among
“Investments by our development partners have also significantly increased over the last decades, such as the Government of Canada which supported the sector with over 285 million Dollars and another 100 million to start in 2016, the World Bank’s investment of 282 million Dollars, IFAD’s 364 million Dollars as well as the United States government’s initiative of Feed the Future initiative” He said.