A Pan-African institution that invests in agribusinesses and renewable energy enterprises, The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), has launched the ‘Seed for Impact Programme’ to support startup companies in West Africa.
The Seed for Impact Programme which was launched in Accra, the capital of Ghana, aimed at promoting access to improved seeds by smallholder farmers.
The programme also seeks to improve productivity as crop yield by peasant farmers continues to decline.
In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of AECF, Mr Daniel Ohonde, revealed that the Fund, which was established ten years ago, had mobilised more than 350 million dollars to support businesses.
He further disclosed that Ghana’s agribusiness environment had become very favourable considering government policies that had been clearly outlined.
The Seed for Impact Programme was targeted at startup companies across twelve countries in West Africa with Ghana being in the lead because AECF thinks that for agriculture to flourish, there is the need to have very good quality seeds which Ghana has been seen to have.
Mr Ohonde also disclosed that, for seed companies in Africa to grow, the industry could not be left to government alone adding that it should be driven by the private sector.
He said further said, “the Programme is focused on providing both technical and financial support to companies to flourish,” adding that, “the financial support is to the tune of $650 million running for six years and have received an initial funding of $10 million from the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.”
Mr Ohonde said the Programme would support linkages in value chains to enable access to improved seed for smallholder farmers across Africa.
Ghana’s Advisor to the Minister of Food and Agriculture of the country, Dr John Manful, who was as well present at the launch of the programme said that, it was time the country cared about the wellbeing of smallholder farmers because they are the people who had put food on our tables for years.
He then added that, “the Government is fully committed to the Seed for Impact Programme because it will be of immense benefit to the Planting for Food and Jobs.”