Fund targets commercial cultivation of vegetables
By Nsikan Ikpe
A $2.8 million grant to boost agriculture in the West African nation of Ghana has presently been approved by the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).
Specifically, the sum would be used for the commercial cultivation of vegetables in four regions in the country.
Under the grant name, Peri-urban Commercial Vegetables Value Chains for Poverty Reduction and Food Security, the money, which is to be disbursed through the World Bank (WB), is also expected to be used for the establishment of vegetable warehousing and irrigation systems for better post-harvest handling and market linkages in the Greater Accra, Western, Eastern and Volta regions.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is the implementing agency, while the main target groups include smallholder and less-resourced vegetable producers.
Primarily, the project targets women and the youth in some selected communities in the four regions to improve on production, quality and marketing of vegetables.
It will also promote irrigation schemes to facilitate all-year-round vegetable production and consumption, as well as develop the capacities of farmers to enable them to improve the productivity and quality of their produce.
Other objectives are reducing post-harvest losses through efficient post-harvest handling mechanisms and facilitation of access to high value markets to ensure appreciable income levels for farmers.
Documentation on the project made available to the Daily Graphic in Takoradi indicates that B- BOVID Limited, a Takoradi-based Agro-farm entrepreneur, will participate in the project implementation process as a productive partner.
The company would be providing the matching grant for the establishment of a cold chain centre (Vegetable Warehousing System), and would consequently manage the system to enhance efficiency.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of B-BOVID, Mr. Issa Ouedraogo, the Western and Greater Accra Regions would build the modern warehousing systems to stem the challenge of post-harvest losses, and that the Western Region was to concentrate on the production of vegetables which was in tandem with the overall government policy of “Planting for Food and Jobs” where the region was selected to produce vegetables.”
He indicated that, the project was capable of transforming vegetable production in the region in particular and the country at large.
President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana