The Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta and High Commissioner of India to Ghana, H.E. Birender Singh Yadav have signed a US$150.0 Million line of credit for Agricultural Mechanization Service Centre project and another US$30.0 Million for the supply of potable water system in Yendi.
Mr. Ofori-Atta disclosed that the project will improve availability and timely access to affordable agricultural machinery. The equipment and mechanized services for agricultural operations will again lead to the establishment of at least one (1) Agriculture Mechanization Service Center in each District in the country.
Aside these benefits, he revealed that the project would provide mechanized services to the resource-constrained households who could not afford their own machinery, households who crop less than two (2) hectares of land would have the opportunity to increase their land holding from less than two (2) hectares to about five (5) hectares.
The project will also support the establishment of cottage industries and small factories for processing of rice, maize and cassava, as well as cottage machine shops for fabricating small farm tools and equipment in support of the Government policy initiative of “One district, one factory” and job creation, he explained further.
On the Yendi Water project, the Minister said “The policy of the government is to ensure that by the year 2030 all people living in Ghana will have access to potable water so providing potable water to over 133,000 people in the Yendi Municipality is a significant step towards achieving this goal”, he added.
He gave the assurance that government would continue to ensure efficiency and accountability in the use of all public resources, including those from development partners.
The Financing Terms for these two facilities, he revealed included the following; Interest rate 1.50 percent, Repayment in 20 years, Moratorium of 5 years, Maturity of 25 years and Grant Element 34.46%.
In his address, the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Birender Singh Yadav, pledged India’s continued support to Ghana and added that the country had benefitted from a number of interventions from India in the area of education, transportation, rural electrification projects, roads, waste management equipment, fish processing and harvesting among other things.
“Our development engagements will continue to be on terms that will be favorable to you that will liberate your potentials and not constrain your future,” he assured.
Stating the guiding principle of India’s relation with Africa, he said, “Africa will be on top of India’s priority and will continue to deepen and intensify its engagements with Africa to bring the needed socio-economic development to the people”, adding that the principle was on course.
H.E. Yadav regretted that with 60% of arable land, Africa only produces 10% of global food output; meaning Africa was woefully below its producing capacity and assured that India was ready to work with West Africa in this regard.
Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto who signed on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that this was by far, the biggest infusing of Agricultural machinery in to country and the biggest Agricultural Credit Facility on the continent.
“This could not have come a better time since Ghana was in the middle of a major policy push for the transformation of our Agriculture and through that transform the economy of this country”, he added.
He revealed that a statistics by Regional survey of West Africa showed that the average Ghanaian farmer has the lowest yields from Agriculture compared to other farmers in the world. The biological strategy of trying to reach smallholder farmers in every part of the country with improved seeds and fertilizers was one of the surest ways of changing this regrettable narrative.
Aside the Planting for Food and Job being a brand for the vision of transforming food production in Ghana, the Minister for Agriculture further hinted that in the next six weeks the President of Ghana was going to inaugurate four other modules under the planting for food and jobs.
Deputy Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Patrick Boamah who also signed the line of credit on behalf of his substantive Minister, Hon. Cecilia Dapaa noted that the President of Ghana had a serious vision in water and sanitation agenda, hence the water for all programme.
He added that his Ministry had made provision for all communities en-route to Yendi to benefit from the water project.
“This project is so dear to the President that was why he made that announcement during the enskinment of Yaa-na,” he noted.
Those present included, Mr Pushpesh Tyagi, a representative of India Exim Bank, the MD of Ghana Water Company, Directors from the Ministries of Finance, Food and Agriculture and Water and Sanitation.