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17.08.2006 General News

Rubber Plantation Farmers to Earn More Income

By GNA
Rubber Plantation Farmers to Earn More Income
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The incomes of rubber plantation farmers in the Western and Central Regions are expected to increase by next year following the signing of an agreement between Ghana, Germany, and France.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement in Accra, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu explained that the French Development Corporation of France (the Agence Francaise de Developpement -AFD) and the German Development Corporation (KFW) would fund the rubber project under a perennial crops project.

Mr. Baah-Wiredu explained that the perennial crops funds would be used to support phase three of the rubber out-growers plantation project. Under the agreement, each farmer is expected to earn about 3,600 euros annually per every four-hectare farm. This is expected to yield 16.5 million euros for the country from the production of 16,500 tons of rubber annually.

Funds from the perennial crops project are also to be used to undertake a feasibility study into the replanting of coconut plantations, which were devastated by the Cape St Paul's Wilt Disease in the Central Region. Another coconut project will be undertaken in the Jomoro District in the Western Region.

Some of the funds are also to be channelled into oil palm production.

The two governments are also funding a special programme under the Social Development Fund under which financial assistance will be provided to communities for the execution of demand-driven projects. Such projects will include: promoting the school feeding programme; purchasing brick making equipment in support of the habitat project; constructing facilities for the District Health Insurance Schemes and promoting vocational and technical school education with special reference to catering for the school feeding programme.

The agreement signed this week between the two countries and the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Food and Agriculture involves 26.2 million Euros. The AFD is giving Ghana 19.4 million Euros for the crops aspect and 800,000 Euros towards the social development fund while KFW is expected to contribute 6.0 million Euros for the rubber component of the perennial crops project.

A breakdown of the funding reveals a concessional loan of 17.4 million Euros, a grant of 2.0 million Euros for institutional support and a Memorandum of Understanding of 800,000 Euros for the social development fund all from the AFD. The KFW's 6.0 million Euros is a concessional loan.

"On the whole, the project will address the goals of the Accelerated Agricultural Growth Strategy (AAGDS), the Growth and Poverty-Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy through poverty reduction, capacity building, and providing higher and sustained incomes for small-scale farmers," the Minister said.

He emphasized that it was necessary to internalize and maintain the projects since they had the potential of nurturing employment for the rural people in addition to forestalling further rural- urban migration.

Mr. Piere Jacquemot (French Ambassador) and Ms. Jana Orlowski (a representative of the German Ambassador) signed the agreements with representatives from the AFD and the KFW on behalf their governments and the two institutions.

Mr. Jacquemont and Ms. Orlowski expressed appreciation for the collaboration between them and Ghana and expressed hope that the support of their governments would enhance the lives of the people for which they were earmarked.

Mr. Ernest Debrah (Minister of Food and Agriculture) said the signing of the agreements was added demonstration of the good relationship that Ghana had with the two governments.

He said that his Ministry appreciated the level of cooperation with the two countries and expressed the hope that the beneficiaries would use the funds effectively.

Beneficiaries of the funds include non-governmental organizations, district assemblies and farmers' groups.

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