‘Ghana’s Northern Rural Growth Programme is transforming agriculture’

Ghana has continued to show steady improvements in economic growth of over 7% per year on average since 2005, making it the first African country to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

However, as growth has accelerated the disparities between the Northern and Southern broad regions, in terms of economic development, becomes clearer.

It said “To tackle poverty in Northern Ghana, the country relies heavily on inclusive agricultural growth in the rural areas, adding that the development was the objective of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP).

The Programme is being funded by AfDB to the tune of US$ 61.29 million while IFAD and the Government of Ghana are contributing US$ 22.73 million and US$ 10.37 million respectively.

The NRGP aims to substantially increase the income of rural households in Northern Ghana. The project covers 57 districts from the Northern Region, Upper East Region, Upper West Region and adjoining districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region and has four components.

With respect to small scale irrigation, the program also targeted some districts in the southern part of the country. These were added during the mid-term review of the project. Examples include: Inland Valley Rice Development Project (IVRDP) and Small Scale Irrigation Development Project (SSIDP).

The NRGP constructed and rehabilitated 650 hectares of land, reaching 4,787 farmers). It also developed 1,264 ha of SSIDP irrigation; 1,003 ha of flood recession schemes reaching 8,264 of beneficiaries. Also the plan to put 150 ha under river pump was fully achieved. It is important to note that all completed schemes are mainly used for the cultivation of rice, tomato, onions, green pepper and cabbage.

Badu town in the Tain district of the Brong-Ahafo Region was among the communities which benefitted from the NRGP intervention.

Overall, the programme constructed 600 km of feeder roads, 200 km of farm tracks, 10 warehouses and 4 pack houses. Farmers in the Region expressed gratitude for the facilities provided by the programme. Among others, they noted that the benefits of the construction of warehouse included improved productivity and increased household income.