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Tuesday, 01 September 2009 21:54

AGRA Provides More Money To Help Agricultural Sector

TAMALE, Ghana, Aug 20, (GNA) - The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is providing a grant of 13 million dollars to the agricultural sector of Ghana. The amount is out of 400 million dollars set aside to improve agriculture in 13 African countries to make them self sufficient in food production.

Part of the grant is to help train more agricultural officers, improve seedlings, develop new varieties of crops and make them available to farmers and also sponsor agro chemicals shops to deliver chemicals at the door steps of farmers.

Dr. A. Namanga Ngongi, President of AGRA, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tamale after he and five executives from AGRA toured farms in the region.

AGRA is sponsored by Mr Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, Rockefeller Foundation as well as some individuals and organizations.

He said he was satisfied with progress of the projects and expressed the hope that the successful start of the programme gave good signals that the food security situation in Africa was improving.

Four countries in West Africa are benefiting from the programme out of 13 countries in Africa and spans seven to 10 years. The quantum of money is expected to increase from the initial capital of 400 million dollars with the participation of more donors in the near future.

Dr. Ngongi said Savannah Agriculture Research Institution (SARI) and Savannah Seed Services Company and other organizations including some agro chemical shops were the implementers of the projects.

He said these organizations would make improved seeds, fertilizers and chemicals available at the doorsteps of the farmers while the agriculture officers sponsored under the programme would develop new varieties of crops for distribution to the farmers.

Dr. Ngongi said 18 students were on sponsorships at the University of Ghana to pursue masters' degrees and PHDs in agricultural science while others are also in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for similar programmes.

Mr Patrick Adingtingah Apullah, the Managing Director of Savannah Seed Services Company, commended AGRA for its good initiatives to boost agriculture that would ensure Africa's food sufficiency.

He told the GNA that the country stood a greater chance of improving food security in the next few years if the project progressed. He said Savannah Seeds Services had produced 200 tones of seeds for distribution to farmers at accessible and affordable rates to farmers in the three northern regions and some parts of the Brong- Ahafo Region.

Mr. Sylvester Adongo, the Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, expressed concern that government did not readily pay attention to the implementation of ideas that would be to the benefit of farmers.

He said lack of vision and focus made most agricultural policies suffer progress at its implementations. Mr. Adongo said with AGRA's involvement in the sector, he hoped there would be improvement in agriculture. (END/2009)


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