Some 2,200 rural agro dealers in Ghana are to benefit from a US$2.5 million credit facility, courtesy of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC), Dr Namanga Ngongi President of AGRA, said on Tuesday.
“The project is aimed at supporting about agro 2,200 dealers and 150 seed producers to foster an increase in agriculture productivity, incomes and well being of about 850, 000 small-holder farmers in
Ghana,” he said.
The three-year project is dubbed Ghana Agro-Dealer Development (GADD) and would help increase the availability, accessibility, quality and affordable agro-inputs and seed in rural areas for sustainable agriculture.
Speaking at a press launch in Accra, Mr Ngongi said research had revealed that low investment in crop production and inefficient agriculture practices in Africa had resulted in hunger and malnutrition of about one third of the continent's population.
He said, “about 75 percent of the soil in Africa is depilated. Aside about 50 hectors of soil nutrient is lost every year in the continent and this also accounts for insufficient production of food.”
Mr Ngongi, said only 30 percent of farmers in the continent had access to improved seeds for cultivation.
He said some of the interventions by AGRA to salvage the situation were to help train people in seed production and agro dealer development.
Dr Kofi Debrah, Country Representative of International Center for Soil Fertility and Agriculture Development (IFDC) , said activities to be undertaken during the three-year period are to provide training and technical assistance to build the capacity of agro-dealers in creating business linkages with seed and other inputs suppliers.
He said GADD would seek to encourage agro-dealers to join agro-inputs trade associations and provide the organizational training and support to Ghana Agriculture Associations Business and
Information Center (GAABIC).
Mr Debrah said the project would train dealers in the value and methods of providing service to farmers such as field demonstrations, soil testing to transfer technology and best agricultural practices.
AGRA is a partnership working across Africa to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger.
Its programmes are based on developing practical solutions to boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment.
AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural value chain – from seeds, soil health and water to markets and agricultural education.