The Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Thursday handed over four Reefer (Refrigerated) Vans to vegetable dealers under the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) to improve sustainable supply of vegetable produce all year round.
The beneficiaries were: AB Farms, BB Vegies, HMR and Dzifresh Companies.
The vans form part of packages under the Peri-Urban Vegetable Value Chain project of the GCAP to facilitate easy access to market as well as stabilize vegetable prices.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, who handed over the vans to the beneficiaries, in Accra, also used the occasion, to commission the new Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) head office complex.
The Office Complex is prefabricated building that contains 45 rooms, a digital library and a conference room.
He said the vans were to support the operations of the vegetable dealers and ultimately help farmers to get their produce to the market on time and to avoid postharvest losses.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said vegetable production alone in other parts of the world was fetching lots of money for countries and that Kenya for instance, earn about three billion dollars annually from vegetables production.
He said Ghana started to learn from the Kenyan experience and sent some peri-urban vegetable farmers to that country to learn and replicate the success story.
He said Ghana’s vegetable production programme falls under the third module of the five module of Planting for Food and Jobs project, being implemented in the country to boost food production and to improve livelihoods.
The Minister emphasized government’s resolve, to give unprecedented support to farmers so they could produce more food to feed the country and to export.
“We are here today to recognize the hard work of these industry and to say that the potential that they have in trying to turn vegetable production into a major source of employment of income and of export earning to this country has been recognized”.
Mr Wilson Dankwa, Chief Executive Officer of GIDA, said each of the van had 3.2 tones capacity and expected to help keep the farm produce fresh for a longer time and to meet international requirement, thereby adding value to the produce and increasing the wealth of farmers.
He said the office building on the other hand, would provide the needed working space for staff to give off their best in service.
He said the funding for both facilities was from the World Bank and it took the contractor of the GIDA building, about nine months to complete the office building.
Mr Benjamin Agbesi, CEO of AB Farms, one of recipient of the Reefer Vans, thanked the government and the GIDA for assisting their operations to enable them effectively liaise between the farmers and the market.
Ms Galina Okartei-Akko, Agribusiness Analyst, GCAP, explained that the beneficiaries of the vans were part of the over 500 vegetable farmers and dealers who were being provided with technical expertise, seeds and other equipment and support services to boost vegetable production.
Dr Sheu Salwu, Senior Agriculture Economists and Task Team Leader of the GCAP at the World Bank, said his organisation was ready to partner Ghana to meet her development goals, especially to boost agriculture production and food security.
He explained that an amount of about 2.85 million dollars was being provided by the World Bank to support the GCAP programme, while the Bank through the Japanese Government funded the GIDA building with an amount of six million Ghana cedis.