The Deputy Director of Operations at the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, Louise Paris, has underscored the continued collaboration between Canada and its Ghanaian partners to the implementation of the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Programme.
She said as part of the programme, Ghana was directly receiving CAD $125 million to help modernise the sector, which had significant potential for reducing poverty and inequality.
Speaking at a handing-over ceremony of rehabilitated and retooled facilities to the Ohawu Agriculture College, she said the continued collaboration with various partners through the implementation of MAG had enhanced the improvement of Ghana’s agriculture sector.
“Through the MAG programme, Canada is directly providing CAD $125 million to the government of Ghana to help modernise the agriculture sector, which has significant potential for reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana.
This funding is channelled through government systems with district and regional departments of agriculture as well as the national directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Agriculture Colleges, which are receiving funds to implement their approved activities and to deliver on their respective mandates.
One of the results of such partnership is the rehabilitated and retooled facility in Ohawu Agricultural College implemented under the Technical Education Development to Modernise Agriculture in Ghana (TEDMAG) – a capacity building component of MAG.
The aim of the rehabilitation and retooling is to support practical training and learning in the Agricultural Colleges.
Madam Paris said all five colleges had had critical their facilities retooled and rehabilitated as well as a curriculum revised to support market-oriented, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable teaching and learning.
Over the past five years, Ghana with support from Canada, has made significant strides in gender equality in the agriculture space.
“Women in Ghana are demonstrating greater empowerment – they have higher levels of financial autonomy allowing them to purchase some land, mould some blocks and put up their own buildings- to purchase rudimentary agro-processing machines, to expand their agro-processing activities and to pay school fees for their children,” Madam Paris said.
She affirmed Canada’s interest in seeing these benefits extended to the girls in the agriculture colleges through the design and implementation of courses that were attractive to and accessible to women as well as flexible policies to increase girl’s enrollment in these colleges.
She said each milestone, such as the handing over of the refurbished facilities, moved Ghana and Canada closer to “our shared goals- through our partnership, we will continue to make progress towards poverty reduction, zero hunger, gender equality and growth that works for everyone.”
Mr. Derrick Owusu-Ansah, the project manager of TEDMAG, said the project’s ultimate outcome was to improve agriculture agents’ capacity in Ghana to provide market-oriented, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable services to farmers.
It also aims at equipping students at the various agriculture colleges with practical agri-business, farm management, commodity value chain management skills and environmentally friendly strategies.
The project is also geared towards building the capacity of key agriculture actors, such as Agric extension agents, farmer-based organisations, and nucleus farmers working in modernised agriculture production, farm management and value- chain management.
Mr. Lawoetey Tettey, Director of Human Resource Development and Management Directorate at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), lauded the initiative, saying it was a game changer as far as agriculture programming and development in the country was concerned.
He said the Ministry was looking forward to upgrading the level of education and exposure students would gain from the new infrastructure and curriculum with the hope that it would improve their learning outcomes.
“We are looking forward to them having new experience that is relevant to facilitate market-oriented agriculture so that they don’t only come out with classroom knowledge but go into practical agriculture, which will inure to the benefit of the entire country,” he said.
Mr Ernest Abiew, principal of Ohawu Agriculture College, expressed gratitude to TEDMAG Consortium, the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, MOFA and other partners for the gesture and promised to make maximum use of the facility to improve teaching and learning outcomes.