Prime News Ghana

MasterCard, MiDA to invest $6.1m in rice value chain

By Primenewsghana
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The MasterCard Foundation and the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) have sealed a $6.1 million deal to transform the rice value chain in Ghana.

This significant collaboration aims to revolutionise Ghana’s rice sector through the implementation of the Harnessing Agricultural Productivity and Prosperity for Youth (HAPPY) programme.

The formal contract signing ceremony, held in Accra on Tuesday 5 December 2023, marked the commencement of a five-year project that will extend its impact until 31 May 2028. The fund disbursement period is set to span four years, from 1 December 2023 to 31 November 2027.

The primary beneficiary of this ambitious initiative is the Kasunya Economic Enclave Project, a vital component of the Ghana CARES/Obaatan Pa programme, under the Ministry of Finance.

Focusing on the rice value chain, the project aims to operationalise 6,000 acres out of 10,000 in the Kasunya region, fostering innovation, training, skill development and implementation support.

The MasterCard Foundation’s grant will serve as initial working capital for primary production actors involved in the rice sector.

This funding will be strategically used to elevate the rice value chain and stimulate economic prosperity in the region.

Collaborating with key partners such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, and private sector anchor farmers, the programme is poised to benefit from diverse technical expertise and support.

With dignitaries in attendance including Ken Ofori Atta, Minister for Finance, and Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, board chair of MiDA, the ceremony symbolised a convergence of influential figures dedicated to driving positive change in Ghana’s agricultural sector.

Ken Ofori-Atta, in his remarks, highlighted the strategic importance of this collaboration, stating, “This partnership signifies a major milestone in our efforts to boost agricultural productivity. The $6.1 million grant from the MasterCard Foundation, in conjunction with MiDA, will play a pivotal role in the implementation of the Kasunya Economic Enclave Project under the Ghana CARES/Obaatan Pa programme.”

The minister emphasised the focus on innovation, training, skill development and strategic support in the rice value chain.

“We are committed to leveraging this funding to provide working capital for primary production actors, paving the way for increased job creation and a 20% boost in national rice output,” he said.

Over the next four years, the collaborative effort anticipates remarkable outcomes, including the creation of 38,269 jobs, with 70% designated for women.

In addition, a projected 20% increase in national rice output, cultivation of 2,560 hectares of rice, and a substantial reduction in rice import costs, expected to surpass US$45 million, underscore the programme’s commitment to catalysing sustainable growth.