Government seeks US$100m from IFAD to boost agric

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The government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, is requesting additional funding of over US$100 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to restructure ongoing programmes in the agriculture sector to fight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.

Already, a first tranche of about US$20 million has been granted and will be available by next week.

Addressing the press on plans to ensure food security during and after the public health crisis, sector minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (MP) outlined a raft of measures being rolled out ahead of the upcoming planting season.

They include market surveillance, where market prices and food availability on the markets are monitored; provision of PPE for Extension Agents, development of guidelines for production, public education through video and print and facilitating inputs distribution.

Medium-term actions include facilitating access to credit for producers, aggregators and processors; supporting NAFCO to mop up strategic stocks for food security, re-establishing early warning systems to provide regular updates on food situation and establishing COVID-19 Fund for Agriculture and Food Security

Dr Afriyie Akoto further indicated that all flagship programmes, including the planting for food and jobs campaign, will proceed while the government works around the clock to secure additional funding, which will be channelled into dealing with issues of post-harvest losses and also mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector.

He is hopeful that the additional request for funds will be granted for the benefit of the economy.

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