As part of efforts to boost Agriculture in the country, government has put in place a number of programmes including the Ghana Agriculture Sector Improvement Programme (GASIP) to support some communities by providing them solar-mechanized boreholes and water storage facilities.
An expert in Agriculture, Dr. Edmund Kyei Akoto-Danso, who is also the Climate Change Adaptation Manager of the GASIP throws more light on GASIP in an interview with ModernGhana Newa in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region.
He said GASIP is a 2 “three-year cycles” programme which came into force in May 2015, funded by the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), with the sole aim of enhancing the profitability and Climate Change Resilience of Agribusinesses, especially those of the smallholder farmer including the creation of sustainable youth jobs and women empowerment.
Dr. Akoto-Danso added that GASIP is national in scope and has so far worked with70 District Department of Agriculture across the sixteen regions of Ghana. He indicated that the Upper East is one of the Regions with the highest beneficiary of GASIP intervention.
He said for instance that, GASIP is operational in 10 out of the 15 Districts in the Region thus; Bawku West, Garu, Garu Tempane, Bongo, Bolgatanga, Kassena Nankan Municipal, and West District, Builsa North and South adding that, the Climate Change component of the program has made the northern part of the country a huge beneficiary of GASIP, due to its level of vulnerability to climate change in terms of impacts.
Dr. Akoto-Danso however explained the impact of GASIP in their operational areas in the northern parts of Ghana. He said so far, 150,000 smallholder farmers have been supported by GASIP with high-quality farming input, farming equipment, and training programs, through 1,200 farmer-based organizations.
He also stated that, 80 agribusinesses have been supported and developed to create real jobs that serve as off-taker for these farmers. He disclosed that the training program was geared towards good agronomic practices, processing, and climate-smart agriculture practices.
Under the program, Farmer Based Organizations (FBO) are supported with various innovative financing arrangements to assess key input and equipment including high-yielding fertilizer he added. Dr Akoto-Danso stated that Climate Change Resilience is the major component of the GASIP target in the northern part of Ghana and has supported over 3000 farmers to practice conservation Agriculture.