The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has disclosed that his outfit is going for a 36 million dollar loan from the African Development Bank to fund the Savannah Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project as well as help transition, smallholder farmers, into commercial ventures.
Speaking at the launch of the Ghanaian Farmer Tourism Club, Dr. Akoto indicated that more investements is needed to revolutionise the agric sector.
“Commercial farming is booming in the Savannah belt and we have a project to accelerate the process. I’ve gone to the African Development Bank to get a loan of $36 million for a project called SAPIP where we’re turning smallholder farmers into commercial farms. Farmers who used to produce 20 acres of maize are now doing 100 acres and more and people are queuing to join the club,” he stated.
The Savannah Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project designed with a total cost of $56.3 million was launched in May 2018.
The project was to reach out to 50,000 direct beneficiaries and 250,000 farmers nationwide through the input subsidy programme of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative. The project is expected to end this year.
Count on Crops Hub, an agric advocacy firm, launched the Ghanaian Farmer Tourism Club. The club seeks to provide an opportunity for Ghanaian farmers to travel to other countries to learn new agronomic practices and vice versa.
Chief Executive of Count on Crops Hub, Enyonam Manye said “agro tourism is an untapped market where farmers have not actually discovered. So as a company that is into agriculture innovations, we thought is wise to take some farmers from Ghana to visit other parts of Africa and even Europe to visit some commercial farms, agro-processing companies and strengthen export and import of goods. So it’s just an experience, exposure we want to give to farmers”.
Count on Crops Hub is partnering with Adansi Travels and RwandAir on this initiative.
Managing Director of Adansi Travels, Gideon Asare outlined their packages available to farmers.
“We have designed very beautiful packages starting with a trip to Rwanda. Our first trip will be in November. So we’re taking care of the arrangements and also ensuring that the cost is not unbearable for the Ghanaian farmer.”
Country Manager of RwandAir, Robert Okumu lauded the initiative and stated that his outfit is glad to partner a project that seeks to improve Africa.
“I ask myself why African countries have to import dairy, poultry from the West, yet we have both the natural resources and human resources. So as RwandAir, we’re glad to support this project and in the spirit of pan Africanism, we will work together to grow this,” he said.