We appreciate also all our stakeholders who have made time to share this moment with us. The real task will come after this launch and we expect all our key stakeholders to participate, guide and take keen interest in the implementation and the result of this programme.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a general consensus that agriculture holds the key to poverty reduction, increase in rural incomes, food security and economic growth on our continent. Globally, Religion, and in Ghana, this fact is recognized and that has led to deliberate efforts to scale up the level of investment in agriculture.
Ghana has striven over the years to accord the agricultural sectoral priority in her development agenda. Investment in agriculture in Ghana has increased over the last decade. Indeed Ghana reached the famous Maputo declaration of Governments allocating 10% of national expenditure to agriculture in the year 2011. It is important to note that this expenditure refers to the agricultural sector, which includes agricultural roads, agricultural research and other related expenditures and not exclusively expenditure by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Globally, consistent efforts continue to be made in this direction by international development agencies, individual countries and global alliances and agenda such as the Millennium Development Goals and its successor, the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, Grow Africa and others.
Investment by our Development partners also significantly increased over the last decade. To mention a few, the Government of Canada supported the sector with over CAD 285 million with a pipeline project of CAD $100 million, IFAD about $364 million. The World Bank over the same period invested $282 million, IFAD about $364 million, AFDB and USAID, under the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative are investing over $210 million, the European Union is planning to invest over Euros 160 million beginning 2016. There are several other investments and technical cooperation activities with other development partners such as GIL, AfDB, JICA, FAO, AGRA, WFP, which we duly acknowledge.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, the challenges of the agricultural sector are not new to us. They include low productivity due to low adoption of improved technologies; inadequate infrastructure such as roads, irrigation and storage facilities, weak linkages between production, marketing and processing; and low access to finance. Many of the interventions are targeting these areas yet there is much more to do to surmount these challenges.
Mr. Chairman, the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme is a flagship programme that introduces a new way of engagement and programming in the sector. It’s flexible and programmatic approach provides opportunity for consistent and long term investment in programme activities that demonstrate success.
It also assumes a sector – wide approach that provides opportunity for coordination of investments to enhance harmony, synergy and alignment with national agricultural development priorities. It provides opportunity for all stakeholders to review the programme every three years to inform the next phase of activities.
Mr. Chairman, GASIP is a broad programme that seeks to address the key bottlenecks in the agricultural sector. It will build on the successes of on-going projects and completed projects.
Mr. Chairman, I urge the private sector to embrace GASIP and participate in its activities effectively. The financial institutions have a key role to play and I also hope they will take advantage of the opportunity to scale up their investments in agriculture.
The Ministry looks forward to active participation of all stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of GASIP.
Thank you and God bless us all.