A signing ceremony to finance the establishment of a tractor and a backhoe loader in Ghana was signed last Thursday between the Ministry of Finance and the Export and Import Bank of India.
The project, which also involved the construction of an assembly plant to fabricate agriculture implements, will be executed by Action Construction Equipment (ACE) Limited of India which would ensure the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract.
It will cost 24.9 million dollars with the completion date set within 18 months after the signing ceremony yesterday.
Delivering a short statement before the signing, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, said it was very significant that the project was taking off as the world grapples with food insecurity due to post-COVID-19 challenges and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
He said it was, therefore, important that such a project was taken off, not only to mechanise farming to ensure food security in the country but also to create employment in the country.
Mr Ofori-Atta said it was hoped that the project would form the basis for mechanised farming to diversify the economy for accelerated development, adding that small and marginal skill farmers would get access to mechanical farming equipment.
He commended the EXIM bank and the Indian government for the numerous support to the country over the years which has concretised the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
In a speech read on his behalf by Twumasi Ankrah, the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Sector Minister said agricultural mechanisation has been identified as one of the major drivers for increased agricultural productivity and improvement, thus, over the years, the ministry has imported various agricultural machinery including tractors for sale to farmers.
He said that initiative, apart from the huge burden on the government purse, also has been challenged by frequent breaks down due to unfavourable weather conditions.
Dr Akoto said it was in this regard that MoFA saw the establishment of an assembling plant for the local assembling of agricultural tractors and machinery as a major contributory factor to the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
He said the assembling plant would boost the mechanisation agenda of the government and also reduce the importation of goods from foreign countries which in the long run would help to reduce pressure on the major trading foreign currencies.
Dr Akoto said the project would further create jobs to eradicate poverty and also make farming more attractive since the agricultural sector was a major contributor to the country’s export earnings, a major source of inputs for the industry as well as a source of income for a majority of the population.
Mr Selver Kumar, the Resident Representative of EXIM bank, said since 2004, the bank has been partnering with Ghana for a lot of development projects helping to establish a fruitful bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He said it was hoped that the project apart from helping to create food security, would also create a lot of employment avenues through the value chain, adding that the project would be a game-changer to help boost food export in the country.