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The Feed the Future (FTF), a United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project aimed at reaching out to some 100,000 maize, rice and soya farmers in the North Region has been launched.

The five-year, USAID funded project also seeks to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable farming technologies to sustainably improve the competitiveness of the maize, rice and soya value chains in Northern Ghana through public private partnership.

Mr Andy Karas, USAID-Ghana Deputy Mission Director speaking at the launch in Tamale at the weekend said FTF was part of President Barack Obama’s flagship programmes to increase food security and improve nutritional status around the world.

The FTF USAID, ATT project would be jointly implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as other agencies relevant to private sector agricultural investment in Ghana.

Mr Karas explained that the ATT had been designed to address some of the key constraints of small holder farmers so as to improve agricultural productivity and growth – the development, availability and adoption of agricultural technologies.

He said the five-year initiative had various components, which would address challenges including lack of access to loan schemes and develop innovative ways of farming and the development of climate resilient crop varieties.

Mr William Boakye-Acheampong, Northern Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said a significant improvement in the agriculture sector was needed to improve the living standards of farmers and that a boost in the sector had a direct impact on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said farmers in the region’s quest to increase production had been thwarted due to many challenges including low soil fertility, low use of fertilizer, low level of mechanization in production and processing.

Mr Boakye-Acheampong said the project was in line with the government’s Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) for 2011-2015, which solicit the support and participation of stakeholders to increase competitiveness and enhanced integration into domestic and international market, sustainable land management and environment as well as the use of science and technology to increase food production.

He urged small holder farmers and other actors in the value chain to embrace the initiative and make good use of the new technology that the project would develop to ensure high productivity.

As part of the launch there was an exhibition, which some of the partners showcased various farm implements and other tools such as threshing machines, drip irrigation, agro inputs, and market information tools that would contribute to increasing agricultural productivity.
Source: GNA

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