$4 Million USAID Maize Project To Improve Productivity

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a $4 million maize project aimed at improving productivity of small-holder maize farmers in Ghana.

The Ghana Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Programme (GAMSAP), which is a four-year partnership with DuPont Pioneer, will advance the use of acceptable high quality inputs and production techniques by a network of farmer dealers.

Addressing farmers, poultry farmers and policy makers in Kumasi at the launch of the programme, the Chief of Party of the USAID-Advance project, Dr Emmanuel Dorman, announced that the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) was a USAID-funded agricultural value chain project on maize, rice and soybean.

He said the current project was a follow-up to the first ADVANCE project that was implemented from January 2009 to March 2014.

According to Mr Dorman, the project was to improve productivity and increase the incomes of more than 100,000 small-holder farmers.

He announced that during the first phase of ADVANCE, maize yields of project beneficiaries in the three northern regions increased from an average of 1.6 metric tonnes per hectare in 2011 to 2.9 metric tonnes per hectare in 2013.

Dr Dorman said the margins of farmers increased from an average of $313 to $539 per hectare over the same period.

The Ashanti Regional Director of Agricultural Services, Mr Kweku Minkah Fordjour, said the way forward for increased agricultural productivity was the use of hybrid seeds.