The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), an African-based fund for agriculture and finance, has launched the Seeds for Impact Programme in Ghana to support sustainable agriculture.
According to the stakeholders, the programme has committed, out of a $60 million investment, an initial funding of $10 million from its partners, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA).
The 6-year programme will target private sector companies in 12 countries namely, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
In his speech, Chief Executive of AECF, Daniel Ohonde, noted the initiative seeks to substantially increase the incomes of thousands of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa by transferring to them in-demand, high-yielding and climate-smart seed and planting material technologies.
According to JoyBusiness report on the sidelines of the launch, he said, “This initiative is looking at two things; one is to diversify the kind of seeds that you have, we are not looking at only maize, rice and the usual seeds.
We are looking at a whole range of different types of seeds especially those that have got a high level of nutrition like millet etc. and it’s also looking at diversifying the kind of food we Africans consume.”
The AECF says it is in the process of fund-raising the remaining $50 million dollar investment which it expects to have in a year’s time.
Globally, the provision and adoption of improved seed and planting material for many crops has raised productivity, improved the lives of millions of farmers and increased the availability of low-cost nutritious food in both rural and urban markets.
Africa, however, has so far not sufficiently benefited from this productivity increase. Crop yields for the smallholder farmers who dominate African agriculture are the lowest in the world, due in part to limited access to quality inputs and improved seed varieties suitable for the different climatic conditions, soils and production systems across the continent.