Your Most Reliable and Dependable Source

UK government injects 14.3 million pounds into agric. sector in the north



The United Kingdom (UK) government has injected 14.3 million pounds into the imageagricultural and investment sector in the northern region.

Dubbed Market Development In the north (MADE), the program was initiated in 2014 by the UK government’s Department of International Development (DFID) with the aim of ramping up agriculture productivity in Ghana as well as attracting much needed private sector investment.

The program is expected to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in 63 districts of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone from 2013 to 2018.

Mr. Jon Benjamin, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin, who launched the program and the first ever agriculture investment forum in Tamale, said at the time MADE idea was conceptualized less than 10% of foreign direct investment was implemented in the north of Ghana and domestic investment in the agriculture sector was also slow.

The high commissioner said the program intends to change the market system in the north to make it more efficient and to link it to national and global markets. Mr. Benjamin said the five year period program has already established partnerships between northern entrepreneurs and agriculture companies in the south, bringing northern produce to high end supermarkets in the south and potentially global markets in the future within two years.

MADE, he added, has managed to attract private sector seed and input companies to the north of Ghana and they are now in partnership with the more than 10,000 farmers and aggregators.

The major challenge to transforming the sector, Mr. Benjamin observed, was further private sector investment in agriculture in the form of commercial financing for entrepreneurs in the sector. He said MADE will push to achieve this goal through the investment profiles it developed and the northern agribusiness forum to aggressively secure further private investments in the northern region of Ghana.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the launch, Mr. Benjamin said Ghana’s agricultural sector has a lot of unfulfilled potentials, yet the country continues to import onions and tomatoes from neighbouring Burkina Faso, items that could have been produced in Ghana.

According to the British High Commissioner, the northern region has many farmers, who are into subsistence farming when they could have been engaged in large-scale farming to earn more income to take care of their families’ health and education.

The MADE program, he noted, has a lot benefits for both government and the direct recipients and reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to investing in the agricultural sector.  He also noted his government would not continue with the program after the five-year period, but would decide on a second phase if the results of a review are good enough.

Ministry of Food and Agriculture grateful to UK government

The deputy minister of food and agriculture in-charge of crops, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan commended the UK government for the intervention and said it will complement Ghana’s government agriculture interventions to enhance the living conditions of the farmers.

Dr. Alhassan, however, said alleviating poverty and ensuring food security in northern Ghana do not lie in handouts as foreign aid or sympathy driven development by NGOs, but rather on carefully designed investment in agribusiness. He pointed out that the northern region has great investment potentials and urged investors to explore these avenues.

The deputy agriculture minister, who doubles as the member of parliament for Mion, called on beneficiaries of the programme to change their attitudes because integrity and contractual arrangement is key in investment.

Dr. Alhassan used the occasion to call on agricultural experts, investors and financiers in the agricultural sector of Ghana’s economy to consider directing their expertise and financial muscle to the northern region.

The northern regional minister Mr Abdallah Abubakari told investors at the forum that an enabling environment has been created for the sector and private sector players in agriculture need to capitalize on the opportunity to improve food production and enhance farmers’ incomes. He expressed the hope that the MADE programme will open opportunities for potential investors in the SADA zone.

According to Mr. Abubakari, though 60% percent of the population in the three regions of the north are subsistence  farmer, the area has a lot of potential in agriculture; vast and rich arable land for rice and vegetable cultivation.

MADE Team Leader

Explaining the objective of the MADE program to Zaa News, the team leader, Mr. Augustin Adongo said the program’s goal is  to help increase the real income of thousands of small-scale farmers. The rationale behind the program, he added, is to help contribute to bridging the developmental gap between the south and the north.

The team, Mr. Adongo explained further, was in the agriculture sector to inject new and innovative ideas into the  sector by way of creating opportunities for people to engage in productive and satisfied work.

Poverty reduction he added was the gold of the program targeting nucleus farmers and aggregators. Mr Adongo told journalists that Ghana needs investments that will transform agriculture in northern Ghana. The only way to help the poor, Mr Adongo observed, was to work with the poor.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.