Accra, Thursday, 31st March 2022 - Government of Ghana has received a grant of Forty-four million and seven hundred thousand Euros (€ 44.7m) to expand its irrigated agriculture system, captured as Agricultural Water Management Project (AWMP).
At the signing ceremony in Accra, the Minister for Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta mentioned that fourteen (14) districts within Savanna, North-East and Upper East regions of the country would benefit from the grant. He emphasized the grant would cover construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructures to boost production and productivity in agriculture in the northern regions of Ghana.
The project is co-financed by the European Union (EU) and Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) with each partner offering of €39.7 million and €5 million respectively.
“The project will support the expansion of irrigated agriculture in northern Ghana (i.e., the Upper West Region (covering 11 Districts), the Savannah Region (2 Districts) and the North-East Region (1 District) through the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructures and the implementation of dedicated accompanying measures targeting agricultural development”
The Ghana Statistical Services estimated there were 756,372 skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers across the five (5) Northern Regions of Ghana. This represented approximately 24% of the total number of skilled workers in the agricultural sector. Against this background, the Minister for Finance expressed confidence that the AWMP would improve farming activities in those designated districts and Ghana as a whole. “I am confident that the AWMP will provide a major boost for their activity”.
This Agricultural Water Management Project (AWMP) is one of the interventions government facilitated to mitigate the impact of perennial drought, a major setback impeding the prospects of agrarian economy in the five Northern regions of Ghana. “This is consistent with the Government of Ghana’s priorities, as it addresses the key issues faced by smallholder farmers and farming systems in the northern regions of Ghana” - he stated.
Due to the challenge aforementioned, famine and poverty are typically associated with farmers within those 14 districts, but Mr. Ken Ofori –Atta was certain that AWMP would address that situation. “Indeed, the AWMP programme dovetails perfectly into our Planting-For-Food and Jobs Programme as it would help address food insecurity and improve income of farmers, and promote poverty eradication”- he said.
Hon. Ofori-Atta expressed appreciation to key stakeholders such as MOF, MOFA, GIDA, EU and AFD for their varying contributions to make this AWMP a reality.
In her speech, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, recalled the European Union’s commitment to support agriculture in Ghana, an essential sector for the country’s economic development: “The project we are signing today will support smallholder farmers to make their yields more predictable and increase their income. It is an ambitious and important investment, which will boost the socio-economic development of regions in northern Ghana, essential for the development and stability of the country”.
On her part, H.E. Anne Sophie Avé, French Ambassador to Ghana, intimated that investing in Agriculture is investing in the future. “Whatever the technologies, however drastically the world may change, human will always need food. Planting for food and jobs, indeed, but also planting for peace and security and planting for sustainability”. She was optimistic the project would enable better jobs, revenues and promotes environment friendly agriculture.
The ceremony saw the exchange of signatures between the Minister for Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, and the AFD Country Director, Christophe COTTET. The agreement was co-signed by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta URPILAINEN, and the French Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Anne-Sophie AVÉ. The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and the EU Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Irchad Razaaly, and Ghana’s Ambassador to the EU Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng were present. END