President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday cut sod to begin the construction of the warehouse component of government's Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
The purpose of these warehouses, according to President Akufo-Addo, is to store produce, as well as provide storage for the anticipated surpluses under the "Planting for Food and Jobs".
In April this year, at the launch of the programme for "Planting for Food and Jobs", President Akufo-Addo reinforced government's intention to construct a 1,000 metric ton capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts - "1-District-1-Warehouse".
"Today, we commence the fulfilment of this pledge, a project to be supervised by the Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Hon. Mavis Hawa Koomson, MP.
The construction of warehouses, under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), will be a major booster in our efforts to guarantee food security and the transformation of the agricultural sector."
"IPEP, another campaign promise of my party in the run-up to the December 2016 election, is to provide each of the 275 constituencies with the cedi equivalent of US$ 1 million every year to tackle issues relating to infrastructural development and poverty eradication in rural and deprived communities," the President added.
The provision of basic infrastructure, including warehouses, markets, water systems and sanitation facilities, are part of the mandate of IPEP.
The construction of the warehouses in all the districts will not only minimise post-harvest loses, but will improve the marketing of agriculture produce. The warehouses will help address poor farm-level practices, poor handling, and poor storage activities that exposes our farm produce to moulds, rodents and other pests.
President Akufo-Addo reinforced Government's commitment to accelerating the construction of the warehouses, and will ensure that each of them is fitted with modern equipment, including drying or freezing systems.
"These warehouses will also be certified to enable them participate in the Warehouse Receipting System, being implemented under Ghana Commodities Exchange project. This system will promote financial inclusion of our smallholder farmers. The farmers will be able to deposit their farm produces in these warehouses, and use them to address their financial needs in various ways under the Warehouse Receipt System," he said.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it is also envisaged that, with the successful implementation of the Warehouse Receipt System, many smallholder farmers will no longer have to sell their farm produce immediately after harvest, especially during periods when market prices are generally low. It will further help address the challenges of price volatility.
"The warehouses will also promote our non-traditional exports. Ghanaian farmers will now be able to store their farm produce in the most efficient and effective manner to enable them export, create employment and earn foreign exchange," he said.
The President continued, "for instance, the incident which happened to our cashew industry, recently, will be a thing of the past. It was reported recently that Ghana's cashew risked rejection on the world market, due to the fact that the cashew nuts exported were not properly dried before bagging, as farmers hurriedly sold their cashew nuts at cheaper prices to avoid post-harvest loses."
It was his expectation that with the construction of these modern warehouses, the private sector will take full advantage to set up industries, to complement our 1-District-1-Factory initiative.
"This is a further indication of the commitment of my government to modernize agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity," the President noted.
He assured that "our policies and interventions encompass the full agricultural value chain and create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural produce, all of which will ensure that our farmers and fisher folk earn higher incomes. Improving the quality of life of our farmers is a major objective of my government."
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)