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President champions development of rural communities




By: Fred Yaw Sarpong

President Dramani  Mahama has   counselled the international community not to compromise on  the development  rural  communities since it can have dire consequence, noting that  “a strong connection between the rural and urban space cannot be taken for granted.”

In his keynote address to open the 38th meeting of the governing council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) , in Rome yesterday,  President Mahama called for the bridging of the gap between urban and rural areas.

He said his vision as a leader is “to transform the rural areas of Ghana in order to create a more diversified, better integrated, and modern rural economy”.

This ‘vision’, he said is one that closes the gap between urban and rural areas in terms of access to services, opportunities, living standards, and prosperity.

To achieve this , the  President  said there is the need for programmes that transfers  direct benefits to the farming households.

“Our rural farming households need improved affordable micro finance, improved seeds, extension advise, tractors to till their lands, reapers and threshers. They need appropriate preservation mechanisms to reduce post-harvest losses. They need a marketing system that allows them to cover their costs and earn a decent living, “he said.

President Mahama  referenced that   Ghana is  currently undertaking the approval process for a US$36 million Ghana Agricultural Sector Improvement Program (GASIP), which will strengthen agricultural value chains, adding that  the country is also working on the establishment of a Ghana Commodities Exchange to facilitate a warehouse receipts system for cereals and improve quality of products.

He hailed  IFAD’s interventions saying  its  programmes are helping to pull many rural Ghanaian families out of poverty.

“Ghana has since 1980 when IFAD started operations in my country, received support for 17projects and programmes worth a total investment of US$782.7 million. Today, we have the third largest IFAD country programme in the West and Central Africa region.”

On his part, IFAD President,  Kanayo F. Nwanze  called on Member States to address income inequality, to address chronic childhood malnutrition, and to prevent their terrible consequences” by investing in rural areas “where poverty runs deepest.”

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has over the years evolved into a strong development institution.

Since IFAD started operations in Ghana the country has received support for 17 projects and programmes worth a total investment of US$782.7 million.

Currently, Ghana has the third largest IFAD country programme in the West and Central Africa region.

The IFAD meeting was throwing the spotlight on rural transformation as a key to
sustainable development.

Held annually at the IFAD headquarters in Rome, the Governing Council is the Fund's main decision-making body, and includes all Member States.

This year's meeting began with a roster of distinguished keynote speakers, including H.E John Dramani Mahama, His Majesty Tupou VI, King of Tonga and Pier Carlo Padoan, Minister for Economy and Finance of the Italian Republic.

The meeting comes at a critical time, as the process of defining a post-2015 global agenda provides opportunities to refocus policies, investments and partnerships for more inclusive, sustainable and people-centred development.

IFAD's objective in Ghana has been to reduce poverty in line with Government's economic development strategy. IFAD has approved US$271.5 million in loans and grants to support 17 projects and programmes in Ghana, and has the third largest IFAD country programme in the West and Central Africa region.



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