On behalf of IFAD’s President, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the exceptional partnership and for inviting me to deliver a few remarks at this auspicious occasion.
Over the last 35 years, the partnership between the Republic of Ghana and IFAD has translated into 17 programmes and projects with US$271.5 million in loans and grants approved, which in turn have generated a total investment of 780 million US dollars, benefiting 3.5 million in loans and grants approved, which in turn have generated a total investment of 780 million US dollars, benefiting 3.5 million rural people. Ghana has the third largest IFAD country programme in the West and Central Africa region. In IFAD, we also recognize Ghana’s effort in achieving greater aid effectiveness for the agricultural sector, based on a sound vision for rural transformation, which his Excellency, President Mahama, has shared with shared with IFAD and its membership earlier this year when delivering the keynote at the 38th session of IFAD’s Governing Council in Rome. This leadership, ownership and commitment is the basis of the partnership between the Government of Ghana and IFAD and combined with the innovativeness and professionalism of programme implementation teams and implementing partners- forms the key ingredient for the success of this partnership.
It is against this background that IFAD is privileged to support the country in moving towards a nationwide programme approach for the agricultural sector and we hope to see the government succeed in gradually widening the GASIP partnership to other co-financing partners in order to absorb official development assistance in a more programmatic fashion. However, IFAD believes that it will be important to ensure the flexibility and diversity that is needed to support agriculture in the most efficient manner while creating opportunities for the private sector to invest.
At IFAD, we see GASIP as a programme designed to provide a framework and institutional basis for a long term engagement and supplementary financing for scaling up investments in private sector led and pro-poor agricultural value chain development. In this context, IFAD in collaboration with other financial institutions, Development Partners and the United Nation is committed to fully support the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the implementation of GASIP with the aim to promote a ‘standard setting approach’ that will drive its policy and serve as a core investment for value chain development in Ghana.
At IFAD we invest in rural people because we believe that they are part of the solution to the world’s challenges. We believe it because we have seen it, over and over, year after year in the countries with whom we work and in the projects we support. Smallholder agriculture is a business and it can be a high yielding efficient and lucrative business a dignified occupation that produces food, creates jobs, sustains families and puts countries on the road to stable inclusive development. This is why we encourage and support efforts by our member states to engage more public resources in sustainable and inclusive agricultural and rural development.
However these resources can only be effective if they are used in a way that creates conditions and incentives to boost private investment. It is in fact this catalysing leveraging effect that the GASIP seeks to achieve. Through our experience in working with governments around the world to support smallholder farmers, it has become obvious that private sector is needed to bring additional investments for supporting the smallholder farmers and the rural poor to respond to entrepreneurial and business opportunities in their communities and scale up successful initiatives.
It is in this regard that this new programmes invention logic distinguishes itself from the traditional ‘hanging out’ approaches of the past that crowded out the private sector. GASIP is about providing opportunities for the private sectors to engage on a demand driven and competitive basis to allow smallholders, particularly women and youth to access the assets they require to engage profitably in agricultural production, processing, and marketing. IFAD is therefore delighted to expand its outreach to facilitate and broker more effective linkages between the private sectors and farmers organizations. We have experienced and learned how both sides can benefit, in a responsible and fair manner, from a value chain approach.
IFAD has recognized the importance of making small holder farms more resilient to climate change and instituted the Adaption for smallholder Agriculture Programme as a special initiative to mobilize additional resources to climate proof IFAD’S investments. I am pleased that the GASIP benefits from a 10 million US dollar grant to mainstream climate change adaptation and resilience in smallholder farms. This will contribute to greater productivity, resilience and sustainability of the intended business models and value chains interventions.
Finally, let me once again thank you, Mr. President and your Government for the strong commitment to help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods by facilitating effective and profitable linkages with the private sector. Together with our development partners we are fully committed to support the Ministry for Food and Agriculture and the Government of Ghana’s efforts to transform the rural areas of Ghana by contributing to the creation of the conditions for poor rural women and men to prosper and for the rural youth to access new employment and business opportunities building their future.