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22.10.2007 Business & Finance

MiDA and MOFA sign 10.7 million-dollar agreement


The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), which is responsible for implementing and managing the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Ghana Programme, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Monday signed a 10.7 million-dollar implementing entity agreement aimed to support, upgrade and develop Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs).

Under the deal, about 60,000 farmers would be trained to strengthen their business management capacity, adopt new production technologies and assist to increase crop yields as well as maximize sales volumes over the five-year period of the compact.

The 23 district directorates of MOFA would identify, sensitise and categorise FBOs that meet the eligibility criteria of the commercial development of Farmer-Based Organisations.

Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, CEO of MiDA and Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

The 547-million dollar MCA Ghana compact was signed between the Ghanaian government and its US counterpart and aims to accelerate the pace of the processes towards enhanced economic growth and the reduction of poverty.

These processes are to be led by agricultural transformation activities in 23 pilot districts.

Mr. Eson-Benjamin said 6.1 million dollars of the 10.7 million dollars would be spent on preparing the FBOs to be ready for the Business Capacity Building Activity intended to make FBOs more efficient in crop production and more to be business-like in their marketing and processing operations.

An amount of 242,700 dollars would be spent on monitoring and evaluation activities involving studies of crop yields per unit area while 2.7 million dollars would be used to build the capacity of 3,000 farmers to become EUREGAP certified farmers.

The remaining 1.5 million dollars will be spent on leadership development in the agricultural industry.

"This training activity is intended to enhance farmers' understanding of specific agricultural practices and enable these farmers to apply new and effective production technologies," Mr Eson-Benjamin explained.

He expressed the hope that MOFA would use its expertise and skilled resources to implement the programme for expected results.

"We have some four years ahead of us to push this project through. Speedy and effective implementation of every role is vital," he added.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, pledged the readiness of the ministry to deliver on the programme.

He said the agreement was a vital first step that defined the responsibility of each agency involved in the programme's implementation to avoid faltering along the road.