Accra, Oct 13, GNA- Government has commended the European Union (EU) for supporting Ghana with an amount of 2.12 million Euros to implement the Research for Development and Innovation Agriculture and Learning (ReDIAL) Project.
The four-year project, piloted in five farming municipal/districts in the country, would contribute and foster innovation in improving soil fertility by generating scientific knowledge through technology to improve threshing of grains and cereals.
The pilot areas are Yendi Municipal of the Northern region, Techiman municipality of the Bono East Region, Ejura-Sekyeredumase Municipal of the Ashanti region, Kwahu Affram Plains North District of the Eastern Region and the Sefwi Wiawso District of the Western North Region.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of three partners, the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Friends of the Nation and Tropenbos Ghana, non-governmental organisations.
The project aims at contributing to the transformation and innovation in agriculture and food systems in Ghana through action research, application of innovative technologies and organization of farmers and multi-stakeholder platforms.
A speech read on behalf of Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday at the launch of the ReDIAL project in Accra, said the programme would help to modernize and accelerate the growth of agriculture for smallholder farmers on a sustainable basis.
The project will also help identify and promote technologies for scaling up to other farming communities and contribute significantly to agricultural transformation.
Dr Akoto said the Ministry was committed to working with all partners and pledged government’s unflinching support to ensure the success of the project.
Dr Akoto said since 2017, under the 11th EU Development Fund, the Union had provided over 130 million Euros grant resources for the implementation of an integrated programme in the Upper West Region called the EU-Ghana Agriculture Programme.
The project, he said sought to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and other project beneficiaries through the promotion of selected food crops, provision of water infrastructure, development of roads and interventions to address climate change.
He said the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods and the country’s development objectives and targets were anchored to the country’s accelerated development of agriculture sector.
The Minister said the government had embarked on accelerated development of the agriculture sector through the launch of Planting for Food and Jobs campaign and four other major programmes such as the Planting for Export and Rural Development, the Rearing for Food and Jobs, the Greenhouse villages and mechanization.
« All these programmes seek to increase productivity and production of key commodity value chains, provide the raw material for industry, increase foreign exchange earnings, create jobs and improve incomes of all actors in the agriculture value chain, » he said.
These interventions the Minister said resulted in increased yields and production, adding that maize yields had increased by 89 per cent from 1.8 Million Tons (MT) per hectare(ha) to 3.4 MT/ha; rice yield increased by 48 per cent from 2.7 MT /ha to 4.0 MT/ha and soya yield increased by 200 per cent from 1 MT/ha to 3.0 MT/ha.
He said maize production had increased from 2016 level of 1.72 MT to 2.90 MT in 2019 representing about a 68.4 per cent increment.
Also, rice production increased from 2016 figure of 687,000MT to 919,000MT, indicating a 33.8 per cent increase over the same period.
A speech read on behalf of Madam Diana Acconcia, the Ambassador of EU, said the ReDIAL project was in line with the EU Green Deal, a new growth strategy promoting economic sustainability by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities.
Professor Boateng Kyere, Dean, Department of Silviculture and Forest Management of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST, said the project would among others work with service providers and financial institutions and create linkages with farmers for sustainable funding.
Mr Don Kris Mevuta, the Executive Director, Friends of the Nation said the project would provide targeted support to women and youth engaged in farming and support them with access to innovative technologies to increase their productivity.