The National Programme Coordinator of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP), Mr Felix Ngmenkaara Darimaani, says a contract has been awarded for the supply of 10 harvesters to farmers.
The SAPIP is implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to support government’s flagship programme, the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs,’ with funding from the African Development Bank.
The Project development objective is to transform the agricultural value chains for food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation.
Mr Darimaani said “Under our programme, SAPIP, we have already awarded contract for the supply of 10 harvesters. Five of them for maize and soya, and five crawler type that can enter even water to harvest.”
The Programme Coordinator disclosed this in a sideline interview with the Ghana News Agency at a market access workshop at Fumbisi, in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region.
He said the crawler combine harvesters, which had no tires, would enable the farmers to harvest their produce successfully devoid of the usual destruction caused to farm produce by combine harvesters with tires.
“We believe by the end of December, we should have them. The contract was awarded in August, and the supplier has 150 days to deliver. Unfortunately the procurement process is such that we could not award the contract much earlier.”
Mr Darimaani conceded that the number to be procured was not enough to solve the needs of farmers, and said “As a project, we are setting targets, we have certain resources allocated for certain activities.”
According to him, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture was committed to the procurement process, adding “He has been passionate about supporting the Ghanaian farmer to transform Agriculture not just only in the Savannah area, but the whole of Ghana.”
He said plans were underway by the Ministry to acquire more machines to cater for the entire production chain for farmers to produce efficiently to feed Ghana and export to other countries.
Mr Daniel Kwame Gariba, the Builsa South District Chief Executive (DCE) in a separate interview, said through the SAPIP, the rice valleys in the District were expanded, “This year alone, we are expanding it by 750 hectares. That will mean that more farmers will come on board.”
He said with the expansion of the valleys, farmers may be reluctant to produce more for fear of available markets to sell their produce.
On the essence of the workshop, the DCE said “I see it as an important one, this will provide a kind of assurance to the farmers that no matter the acres they do, government is poised in making sure that they have access to market.”