The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has secured a loan of more than $216 million to purchase and import farm machinery to support farmers under its flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The facility, which comprises $150 million from the Exim Bank of India and $66 million from the Brazilian government, has been approved by the Cabinet and Parliament.
Another $20 million is being worked on from the Exim Bank of the Czech Republic to bring the total amount to $236 million.
It is by far the biggest infusion of investment in farm machinery in the country which seeks to enable the government to modernise and transform the agricultural sector.
The machinery, including tractors and hand-held agricultural implements suitable for smallholder farmers, will be imported from India and Brazil.
In an interview in Accra, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the machinery would mostly be used for land preparation, sowing, farm maintenance, harvesting and primary processing.
Giving a breakdown, he said machinery valued at $66 million would be procured from Brazil, while machinery worth $150 million would be imported from India in the next 12 months.
“Apart from the core inputs of improved seeds and fertiliser, bringing this farm machinery designed mainly to suit smallholders will improve efficiency and farm work,” Dr Akoto explained.
He said the move would boost the productivity and yields of smallholder farmers and gave an assurance that the agricultural sector would undergo an appreciable level of transformation in the next 24 months relative to farm machinery, improved seeds and fertiliser.
He said the Planting for Food and Jobs program was intended to modernise agriculture through the adoption of new technology, even though extension services “are still very insignificant”.