Dr Alhassan Mohammed Ahmed, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in charge of Crops, has opened an inception workshop for the Green Innovation Centre Project, aimed at reducing poverty and ensuring food security.
The project is an initiative of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation under the global initiative titled “One World No Hunger,” in the agriculture and food sector to be implemented by GIZ Ghana.
It also aims at introducing innovations in the agriculture and food sectors, to boost the incomes of small-holders to create more employment opportunities, particularly in food processing, and increase regional food supplies in the project’s rural target areas.
In Ghana the project promotes rice, maize and pineapple value chains in five regions, namely, Volta, Greater-Accra, Central, Ashanti and Brong Ahanfo.
Dr Ahmed said the Ministry had embraced the initiative because it was in line with the key priority of increasing agricultural productivity.
“The need to scale up adoption of technological innovations for increased productivity is paramount in our quest for transformation of the agricultural sector,” he noted.
He, however, indicated that in the midst of many technologies which were continuously developed by National Research Institutes, and in collaboration with global and regional research bodies, the productivity for many key crops was still below 60 per cent of the potential under recommended input use and agronomic practices.
Dr Ahmed assigned reasons, and said they included poor market linkages and remunerative prices, to serve as incentives to invest in new technologies, poor knowledge of information on existing technologies and their use.
He said schemes such as the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund, the Out grower and Value Chain Fund matching grants under various projects, were all being made by government to enhance access to finance for investment in Agriculture.
“As we work at increasing productivity, processing and quality of our agriculture produce and products, we need to intensify efforts at promoting local consumption of these produce and products.”
Mr Siegfried Leffler, GIZ Country Director, said Innovation Centres were implemented in 13 countries, of which 12 were in Africa, with only one in India.
The project applies a comprehensive approach that combines advice, training and investment measures.
It will engage open-minded, commercially-oriented farmer groups, as well companies which have the willingness and the capacities to successfully operate innovations in the broad sector of agriculture.
“There will be a special focus on women and youth and we will train 15.000 farmers and workers within the next three years.”
He said the focus areas of work were sustainable economic development, governance and agriculture, but that we were involved also in other important sectors, such as renewable energy, peace and security, and in various global and regional climate change adaption and/or mitigation programmes.
Dr Zoe Nautre, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, said the German government had made a commitment to provide a minimum of one billion Euros a year for rural development and food security and nutrition security.
The activities to be funded will come under the “One World No Hunger Initiative.’’
Source Credit: Ghana News Agency