Under the programme, which has been running in Ghana for the last four years, more than $85 million has been mobilised in capital for the rice, maize and soya bean value chain, resulting in the reduction of stunted growth among children under five and improved household nutrition.
At a meeting hosted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with its partners to discuss the collective progress on food security in Ghana under the FTF programme, it emerged that the US government invested $45 million in Ghana annually on the seed value chain for northern farmers.
The two-day meeting, which was on the theme: “Sustaining the momentum to finish strongly”, brought together implementing partners of the FTF who discussed issues, including the promotion of public-private partnerships to sustain results and scale impact, enhancing the competitiveness of key value chains and understanding the constraints within Ghana’s seed sector.
Opening the meeting yesterday, the USAID/Ghana Mission Director, Mr Andrews Karas, said the FTF had made significant progress in the Northern Region in terms of poverty reduction and improved nutrition since it started in 2013.
Speaking on ongoing challenges and the need for irrigation, he expressed the commitment of the USAID to work with the government of Ghana and the FTF partners to accelerate agricultural growth to enhance the nutritional status of women and children.
“We have pledged to intensify our efforts and mobilise resources in harmonisation with government priorities,” Mr Karas said, and added that donors had already stepped up to align efforts and resources.
The USAID, he added, was focussing on improving access to quality seed for small-holder farmers by supporting Ghanaian researchers to develop a private sector-led seed trade platform known as National Seed Trade Association of Ghana.
Private sector involvement
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who was represented by the USAID Embedded Advisor at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Kwesi Korboe, underscored the need for the private sector to play a pivotal role in agricultural development in Ghana.
He expressed concern about the many private sector institutions that sent confusing signals which made it difficult to partner the public sector to work together as a team.
He said the private sector would be allowed to play a key role in the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme by asking them to provide seeds to support the programme in the quest to make the private sector the fulcrum in the government’s flagship agricultural programme.
Mr Korboe urged the USAID to work closely with MoFA to send a strong voice to the private sector to join hands with them for a harmonious working relationship.