Parliament on Friday approved a loan facility of $39.01 million to boost the agricultural value chain for food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation within the Savannah zone of the country.
The project forms part of the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme under the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project.
It is expected to run from January, 2018 to December, 2022 and will benefit more than 50,000 farmers, who are into rice, maize, soya bean and vegetable production.
The loan agreement was between the government and the African Development Bank (AfDB)
The farmers will be provided with improved seeds and fertilizer, which are expected to increase yields by thousand folds and enhance the incomes of the farmers.
Presenting the Finance Committee’s report before the loan was approved, the chairman of the Finance Committee and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said some feeder roads and farm access tracks in the those areas would be constructed and rehabilitated in addition.
He said the Savannah zone comprising three Northern regions and the northern parts of the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions is characterised by challenging agro-ecological conditions, low socio-economic indicators and a historical deficit of public investment in terms of infrastructure and services. “Developing the zone is a national imperative for economic growth and stability, food and nutrition security, as well as job creation and poverty reduction.
“The overall monitoring and evaluation of the project falls under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA). The Project Coordination and Management Unit will monitor and evaluate the impact of the project, including performance, as well as environmental and social compliance and compile the project’s quarterly and annual reports for dissemination to the ADF, MOFA other Ministries and the Development Authority responsible for the Savannah Zone,” the Finance Committee chairman said.
A member of the Finance Committee and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, said he does not understand why President Akufo-Addo should be trumpeting the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision and still turn around to go for more loans to support the country’s development.
The deputy ranking member of the Finance Committee and NDC MP for Sekyere Afram Plains, Alex Adomako-Mensah, however, expressed optimism that the loan will bring immense benefit to Ghana.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr