The Brazilian government will soon release a total of $96 million facility to Ghana for the supply of agricultural machinery to support local farmers.
The deal also involves the procurement of logistics for the implementation of the government’s One Village One Dam Policy which is set to kick start soon.
The agreement to release the second tranche of the facility, valued at $33million, was reached after a discussion between the Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and his Brazilian counterpart, Blairo Maggi, in Brasilia, on Thursday.
The discussion also touched on the state of the cocoa industry in the two countries and areas of possible collaboration to promote the chocolate sector for value addition.
The amount forms part of an existing $96m soft loan for the revamp of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The facility will go into the supply of basic machinery for smallholder farmers under the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs Policy.
This is in line with the decision by government to step down the Tractor Program in favour of the supply logistics that will benefit many farmers, particularly those who do not have the means to purchase tractors and other heavy duty machines for their farming activities.
The logistics will include those to be used for preparation, planting, application of fertilisers, as well as harvesting of food crops.
In this regard, specific emphasis has been placed on small irrigation purposes under the government’s One Village One Dam policy in the northern savanna zones.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in the discussion, reiterated the determination of government to transform the agricultural sector permanently.
He indicated that the objective requires the application of technology to benefit as many farmers as possible in an effort to improve their production and income whilst raising farm output to an unprecedented level in the history of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The Minister, therefore, expressed gratitude to his Brazilian counterpart for agreeing to release the funds despite initial hesitation and pledged that government will judiciously utilise the facility for the benefit of farmers.
Minister holds discussions with Manufacturers
Meanwhile, Minister also held discussions with key manufacturers and major suppliers of farming equipment in Sao Paulo, the industrial hub of the South American country.
He was accompanied by the acting Director of Agricultural Engineering Services Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as agents of the manufacturers in Ghana.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto emphasised government’s policy is geared towards the benefit of the smallholder farmers hence the decision to review the large tractor program.