The Agricultural Transformation Project of Ghana's Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Programme which aimed at bolstering the country's agricultural productivity is estimated to provide about 514,000 people with employment.
The 5-year project will include agri-business development, transport infrastructure as well as institutional and financial support services for the selected communities namely, the Afram Basin, the Southern Horticultural Area and the Northern Agricultural Area.
Initial estimates suggest that the annual net contribution of the project to the Ghanaian economy will be about $159 million.
The government of Ghana on October 26, 2005 submitted a proposal to access a grant of approximately $500 million from the MCA.
In recognition of the country's commitment to good governance, democratic rule and investment in people, particularly its focus on the vulnerable in society under its Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) programmes, Ghana was selected among 17 other countries to benefit from $547 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) assistance.
In accordance with the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and fostering growth, the government of Ghana, since 2003, has put forward strategies for poverty reduction, including the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).
The GPRS I (2003-2005) focused on poverty reduction among the rural poor while GPRS1I (-2003- 2006) targets the modernization of the agricultural sector which employs 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population in rural areas where poverty rates are very high.
The Ghana MCA Programme, developed by a team of Ghanaian professionals, is an agricultural transformation initiative which will modernize and encourage business in agriculture and reduce poverty in rural communities.
It will further boost food production and enhance the quality of produce, thereby making them competitive on both local and international markets.
950 km of feeder roads and 240 km of trunk roads to link farms to markets would also be constructed under the grant.
Meanwhile, a field trip to the Northern Intervention Zone was embarked upon, as part of Millennium Development Authority (MiDA's) implementation process under the MCA Programme.
MiDA is an institution that was set up by government to administer the country's MCA Programme.
The trip is the first in a series of validation missions to ensure effective and efficient implementation of Projects under the MCA.
MiDA is validating data available for implementing the Compact, to check if information collated during the Compact design stage remain valid as MiDA reached the implementation stage of the Compact when the Compact Entered Into Force on 16th February 2007 and attained First Disbursement on 6th - March – 2007.
The Northern Validation Mission was to ascertain whether anything has changed, as MiDA shifts into high gear at the implementation stage, and to establish the constraints that currently exist within the value chain of agriculture and take steps to address them.
By Felix Dela Klutse