The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has commended Ghana and some other African countries for instituting prudent measures to ensure that smallholder farmers are shielded from the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) was one of Ghana’s initiative that was lauded by AGRA.
AGRA noted in a statement by its President Dr. Agnes Kalibata that : “At AGRA, we are committed to supporting governments and other partners in the countries where we work to support farmers to continue working on their farms.
“There are very good lessons coming from across Africa and beyond and we will bring these to our countries as we go. For example, the Indian Government has exempted agriculture and allied activities from the ongoing lockdown. Closer home, we commend efforts by the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda,
“Ghana and Ethiopia that are developing or already have guidelines to keep agricultural value chains alive even as they abide by public health guidelines.
“The Government of Ethiopia, for example, is finding ways to get inputs to farmers at lower prices than usual to ensure that all farmers have access to the right inputs. In Ghana, the Ministry of Food and
“Agriculture has secured inputs, seed and fertilizer, for farmers through the government flagship Planting for Food and Jobs program. The government is also supporting rice millers with working capital so they can continue purchasing rice from farmers. In Kenya, the government willstock up cereals and pulses for use to mitigate the COVID-19 food security challenges. Additionally, the Village Based Advisors (VBAs) in the country have come up with creative ways of delivering government subsided inputs to farmers while educating them on COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“Our collective duty now is to ensure that efforts like these are scaled up across the continent.
“At AGRA, we are committed to working with our partners and governments to support farmers, most of whom are women and youth; to plant, harvest, transport, and sell food without endangering their safety and that of others. We will do this by working with governments to ensure that village-based agrodealers shops stay open to enable farmers access inputs at affordable prices.
“We will also expand the role of the Village-based Advisors (VBAs) to continue providing extension services to farmers. To this end, we will equip the agrodealers and VBAs with safety equipment and information as well as step up the use of digital tools, mobile phones and radio to enable the VBAs reach farmers easily and safely. We are not being prescriptive but believe that we all have to do what it takes to support the farmers; doing nothing and wishing this pandemic away is not an option.”