IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze meets smallholder farmers in Ghana

Accra – 31.08.10

On the second day of his visit to Ghana, the President of IFAD, Kanayo F. Nwanze visited rural communities to assess the impact of projects and programmes supported by IFAD.

During his visit to the West Akim District in the Eastern Region of Ghana, Nwanze first stopped at a cassava processing center, supported by the Roots and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP).

The center is currently linked to over 100 farmers who are organized in groups from 5 communities. Its products include gari, high quality cassava flour, and gari mix (gari fortified with soya beans). The center supplies a total volume of about 50 mt per month on demand to off-takers in the West African sub-region.

Nana Ayeh Sampson, the farmers’ spokesperson, informed the President of IFAD about his activities and highlighted the “improved living conditions” he and his family now enjoy as a result of the programme.

Nwanze visited a cassava ‘planting material multiplier’s field where the owner of a cassava plantation, Christopher Obeng thanked IFAD for the opportunity to “learn more about the potential of the improved varieties and their characteristics”. Since 2006, 40,000 small farmers in 85 districts have received improved planting material.

Later, Nwanze also visited the West Akim Rural Technology Facility at Asamankese, supported by the Rural Enterprises Project (REP). The facility consists of a technical metal working workshop to enhance technology for rural micro and small-scale enterprises. The facility also serves as a training center to enable beneficiaries of the programme to undertake the making of machinery and equipment, as well as repairs, at the local level. The center has provided assistance to over 200 master-craftspersons and apprentices.

Speaking at a ‘durbar’ meeting held in honour of the President of IFAD, the paramount chief of Asamankasi traditional area, thanked Nwanze for announcing the opening of the IFAD country office for Ghana and for undertaking to scaling up the Rural Enterprises Project to cover all the districts of the country.

Earlier in the morning, Ghana Television aired an interview with the President. Nwanze applauded the Government of Ghana for increased efforts to eradicate poverty and urged the rural youth to see agriculture as a viable business and a vehicle for rapid economic empowerment and development. He emphasized that agriculture is not only about production but also about processing, marketing and other related services. He commended Ghana for piloting a comprehensive value chain approach that integrates all the different components from the farm gate to the end consumers.

by Ulac Demirag; Farhana Haque Rahman