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09.06.2005 Regional News

Phase two of GPRS to boost poverty eradication efforts


Ho, June 9, GNA- The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), is to make the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS 2) document a practical and a better illustration of the dynamics of the poverty situation in the country. The Commission also expects to provide in the GPRS 2 more workable and participatory programmes for raising living standards, which did not feature adequately in the GPRS 1 that ends this year.

Mr Ken Owusu, a Consultant with the NDPC said this at series of consultative meetings with stakeholders including professional associations, traditional authorities, labour organizations and local government workers in the Volta Region. He said the review meetings were meant to evaluate the poverty diagnosis as presented in the GPRS 2, impact of the GPRS 1 and its shortcomings and also look at set targets as against international commitments to poverty reduction.

Mr Owusu said it was expected that more ideas "would buy into" the GPRS 2 document to enable as many people and groups as possible to relate positively to the poverty reduction processes. He expressed the hope that the GPRS 2 would reverse the trend where macro indices of growth did not translate into higher living standards of the poor.

The growth poles of GPRS 2 presented at the consultative meetings indicated that Agriculture was to lead growth with a projected 6.0 per cent average growth between 2006 and 2009. The document said accelerated performance in the agricultural sector would be based on improved performance in crop production, livestock and fisheries.

Mr Owusu listed the eight strategies to be adopted under the GPRS 2, as large- scale farming and nucleus out-grower schemes of targeted or selected crops and the extensive promotion of seeds and planting materials. The rest are development of technologies to raise agricultural produce to international market standards, promotion of weights and measures as well as grades and standards in marketing of commodities to enhance marketing efficiency and increased access to credit.

The document also mentioned increasing capacity of storage, warehousing and distribution networks, especially cool facilities at the ports, improved rural infrastructure network and development of irrigation services as other ways of raising agricultural production. The strategies are expected to increase incomes of farmers and impact positively on eradicating poverty.

Ms Alice Amekudzi, a Consultant with the NDPC said the GPRS 2 was expected to improve on gender streamlining, including strengthening institutions dealing with women and children, expand coverage of institutions dealing with women's rights and sustain micro finance schemes for women.