Tamale, Ghana – On March 4, Mission Director for USAID/Ghana, James Bever, traveled to Tamale to kick-off two Feed the Future projects in the region: the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and the new Ghana Seed Inspection Unit.
In the Tolon/Kumbubgu District, Mr. Bever joined key actors in agriculture, technology and innovation to sign an agreement providing $5.5 million in Feed the Future funding to SARI. The funds will bolster SARI’s capacity to transform agriculture in Ghana, particularly in the north. Through the agreement, USAID will provide training to staff and rehabilitate critical infrastructure, positioning SARI as a center for excellence in agricultural research in Northern Ghana.
SARI has a long history of contributing to agricultural technology development and information sharing through development of crop varieties adaptable to the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions. The U.S. government support will directly strengthen SARI’s role as a leader in applied agricultural research through improvements in systems performance. The institute’s national and international research programs will also receive support to make agricultural technologies readily available to farmers through crop improvement, soil fertility management, and research administration.
Mr. Bever remarked that, “research is the cornerstone of innovation and agricultural growth,” and will “drive food security and prosperity in Africa for years to come.”
Later Mr. Bever joined partners to break ground on a new laboratory that will use international standards to ensure farmers throughout Ghana have access to high quality seed. The Tamale-based Ghana Seed Inspection Unit for the Northern Region is the first of many facilities funded by USAID. Identical laboratories will also be constructed in the Upper East and Upper West regions. This support will provide buildings, equipment, and training to modernize the process for testing seeds and ensuring quality standards are met.
Mr. Bever called the occasion a celebration of, “the continued strong relationship between USAID and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture,” and remarked that the new infrastructure will be a transformative resource for farmers in Northern Ghana.
In addition to the groundbreaking, leaders toured the existing seed laboratory and processing facilities and talked with management about the best strategies for sustainability, cost recovery, and growth within Ghana’s seed industry. The project, implemented jointly by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Feed the Future Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) Project, will provide dedicated work rooms, walk-in germination facilities, workbenches, testing equipment, and technician training. These updated facilities and skills are designed to ensure that private sector seed producers are able to deliver an excellent product to farmers across northern Ghana.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency working to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Since 1957, USAID has supported Ghana in increasing food security, improving basic health care, enhancing access to quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaian people.
Through continued partnerships with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, USAID will ensure sustained food security and reduce poverty among farmers for generations to come.