- On May 14, 2015
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SEND-GHANA on Saturday 9th May, 2015 handed over three (3) Massey Ferguson Tractors (435 model) and accessories worth 183,000 USD (ie 671,610.00 Ghana cedis) to three Zonal Cooperative Associations in its resolve to improve agricultural production in the eastern corridor.
The beneficiary Zonal Co-operatives are from Salaga in the East Gonja District, Kpandai in the Kpandai District and Chamba in the Nanumba North District of Northern region.
Mr. Wekem Raymond Avatim, Director of Livelihood Security Programme, SEND-GHANA, presenting the tractors to beneficiaries at Salaga, stressed the importance of high agricultural production to mitigate food insecurity and increase income levels of households, especially women.
He said food security and economic empowerment are means of alleviating the challenges facing vulnerable groups. “Consequently, one critical area that SEND-GHANA is looking at is how to make sure that women have labour saving equipment”, he added .
He argued that over 80 per cent of our rural women are engaged in agriculture but then when it comes to having access to equipment and resources such as tractor services, they are marginalized. Therefore, the provision of tractor services will empower women so that they are able to contribute to agricultural development, he explained.
“We are hoping that the executives of the various zonal cooperatives will make sure that majority of their women have access to these tractor services,” he added.
The presentation forms part of strategies to implement SEND-GHANA’s FOSTERING project which is expected to increase sustainable food security with regards to gender equity for over 42,000 women and men in 5,400 households within 130 communities in eight (8) districts.
The tractors were given to the farmers on credit basis at a five per cent interest rate. As a result, “we expect regular repayment of the loan to recover the investment in order to ensure that other zones have their turn through a revolving loan,” he added.
Mr. Avatim gave the assurance that; SEND-GHANA would ensure value for money for this investment. “We expect our farmers to manage the tractors in an equitable manner with a high sense of transparency and accountability to demonstrate that given the chance and capacity, the small holder farmer can manage a successful agricultural business to ensure food security and development.”
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Salaga in the Northern Region, Mr. Mohammed Amin Lukman, expressed regret about the bottlenecks associated with accessing tractor services which were hampering farming activities.
He advised that the tractor committee should ensure that no farmer is disadvantaged in the provision of tractors services.
Madam Linda Adufude and Mr. Sebewie M. Lawal, both farmers, received the keys to the tractors on behalf of the beneficiaries. They expressed gratitude to SEND-GHANA for the gesture, adding that it would help address some of the challenges facing farmers in the beneficiary districts.
They further called on the beneficiaries to take good care of the tractors and appealed to SEND-GHANA to consider extending this opportunity to the other communities in northern Ghana in order to sustain the fight against food insecurity.
The handing over forms part of the new Food Security Through Cooperatives Project called FOSTERING which has been rolled out based on informed practices in co-operative, agricultural and financial development in eight (8) districts based on successes chalked in three (3) districts of East Gonja, Nanumba North and Kpandai.
The lead implementing partners for the FOSTERING project are SEND-GHANA, Credit Union Association of Ghana (CUA) and the Canadian Cooperative Association. The government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Department (DFATD) has provided funding for the FOSTERING project with contribution agreement from the Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA).