Politics

Parliament approves loan to improve agricultureParliament approves loan to improve agriculture

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Parliament has approved a $52.5 million loan agreement between the government of Ghana and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to finance the Promoting Rural Opportunities, Sustainable Profits and Environmental Resilience (PROSPER) project.

The loan is made up of a blended loan of $35.175 million and a concessional loan of $17.33 million.

The facility is to address the pressing challenges and vulnerabilities in the Agriculture sector and to promote increased productivity.

Presentation
The agreement was presented to the House on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, by the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution and section 56 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016.

Pursuant to Article 103 of the constitution and Orders 169 and 171 of the Standing Orders of the House, the agreement was referred to the Finance Committee and Leadership of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs for consideration and report.

Motion
Presenting the report to Parliament and moving the motion for approval before the House rose last Thursday, the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee and Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Patrick Yaw Boamah, said agriculture remained the central component of the government’s economic transformation agenda.

“To this end, the government has embarked on a number of policy interventions, including Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, increased supply of extension services, warehousing and receipt schemes, credit guarantee schemes and the commodity exchange platform to expand agriculture, increase food production and promoting food security,” he said.

Reading from the report, the MP said the interventions were intended to address key impediments in the sector and revolutionise agriculture in Ghana.

Mr Boamah said to address the challenges, the government and its partners, including IFAD, proposed to implement the PROSPER project.

The goal of the project includes strengthening the integration, climate resilience and environmental sustainability of smallholder farmers and businesses in the priority Value Chain in the Northern and Middle Ecological belt taking advantage of the increased demand created by the national agro-processing strategy.

Outcome
The project will concentrate on two mutually supportive technical components — increasing the real demand for sustainably grown produce by significant numbers of people living in poor rural communities while enhancing their capacity to meet this demand through more efficient climate-resilient agricultural and natural resource management practices, to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

The overall intended outcome is to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security, and improve the health status of the beneficiary communities.

The primary aim of the PROSPER project is to improve agricultural growth in Ghana.

The lead project implementation agency will be the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, as well as the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The total cost of the project is $147,20 million of which the government will have to fund the gap.

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