Against a backdrop of soaring domestic and regional demand for food and growing interest from agribusinesses wanting to work with smallholder farmers, the Ghanaian government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a loan and grant agreement to finance the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Program (GASIP).
The $36.6 million loan and $10 million grant aims to improve connections between smallholder farmers and agribusiness. It is also hoped that the funding will boost growth by helping farmers access inputs and technology needed to increase their productivity, income and overall competence, according to the press release.
GASIP is co-financed through a $7.6 million contribution from the government, $1.7 million from the participating districts and $4.6 million from the beneficiaries themselves. And IFAD is planning to leverage further private investment in the form of agricultural loans from local and international financial institutions. It is hoping to raise $17.5 million over a 6-year period.
“In partnership with Ghana, we are bringing together climate change resilience with smart marketing approaches to strengthen each part of the value chain, which in turn ensures more profits for small farmers,” Michel Mordasini, minister of food and agriculture of Ghana, said in a statement. “Programmes such as these create a favourable environment for smallholder farmers, particularly for women and youth, to engage in profitable agriculture businesses.”
With a primary focus on cassava, yam, maize, sorghum, fruits and vegetables the programme will also invest in productive infrastructure and facilities for the selected value chains.
IFAD has invested a total of $271.5 million in 17 programmes and projects in Ghana since 1980, generating a total investment of $780 million, benefiting about 3.5 million rural people, according to an official statement.