The Canadian Government has donated 50 double cabin pick-ups to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for purposes of strengthening agricultural extension service delivery in the country.
The vehicles are valued at GHC10.6 million and were procured with funds provided by Canada for the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Programme. Canada is supporting the programme with 135 million Canadian Dollars over a six-year period.
Since its inception about four years ago, the MAG Programme has procured 265 vehicles and over 3000 motorcycles for the agriculture sector and five buses for the agricultural colleges in Ghana to facilitate training to deliver modernized agricultural extension services. With the additional 50 vehicles, the Programme has supported all the regions and districts in the country with vehicles and motor bikes to improve the productivity of farmers and create market linkages for their produce.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said if agriculture in Ghana is to be modernised and transformed, farmers must have easy access to extension services in the form of knowledge transfer, guidance and advice in the application of modern technology, farm management practices and a new orientation of perceiving agriculture as a business.
The Minister noted that the agriculture sector has been a major beneficiary of the great relationship between the Government of Ghana and Canada, for which the Ministry remains eternally grateful. He was happy that an additional one-year no cost extension has been successfully negotiated for the MAG Programme, which will now end next year 2022.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the Canadian High Commissioner in Accra, Ms. Kati Csaba, said in the first four years of MAG implementation, there has been increases in the adoption of relevant, productivity-enhancing technologies by both female and male farmers in Ghana. There have also been new market-oriented approaches to farm management, improvements in major crops and much more.
“Canada recognises that the agriculture sector continues to hold great potential for reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana. That is why we are providing 125 million Canadian dollars of assistance directly to the Government of Ghana to help modernize the agriculture sector through the MAG Programme”, she said.
Ms. Csaba spoke about the collaboration between Canada and Ghana on gender equality and explained that it was critical for economic growth. The Programme has sought to understand the specific needs of women farmers and to ensure that both female and male farmers are receiving the appropriate extension services to help them improve their yields, their income and livelihoods.