News  >  Blog

USAID-RING Feed the Future Project Thrives in Northern Region

Published 11/10/2016 by Global Communities

USAID-RING Feed the Future Project Thrives in Northern Region
This article first appeared on Citifmonline |  By Abdul Karim Naatogmah

Over 2,000 female beneficiaries of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) Feed the Future mission, have started harvesting 100 acres of orange-fleshed sweet potato cultivated in 70 communities of 17 districts in the Northern Region. This is in line with the USAID-RING ‘orange-fleshed sweet potato’ project, implemented to improve the beneficiaries’ income levels and by extension advance nutrition in the targeted communities. The USAID-Ghana Mission Director, Andy Karas, supervised the maiden orange-fleshed sweet potatoes harvest festival held at Nyensung in the Gushiegu district, which attracted major stakeholders in the agric sector.

He reiterated the USAID’s commitment to combat malnutrition in Northern Ghana. “Through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s initiative that works to end global hunger, Ghana is a priority country. Here in Ghana, we focus on the northern regions and are working to reduce the prevalence of stunted children by at least 20 percent. Stunting is caused by lack of nutrients, and it leads to reduced growth, development and prospects. By fighting stunting, we are ensuring thousands more children across the north have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Andy Karas explained.

He said the USAID would deepen its partnership with district assemblies, smallholder farmers, agric extension officers and other relevant institutions to achieve the project’s goal. Andy Karas touted the University for Development Studies (UDS) as a major partner in the project’s implementation. “We partner with district assemblies to improve the nutrition of families throughout northern Ghana. We partner with the University for Development Studies to produce orange-fleshed sweet potato vines and to train agriculture extension officers to grow and store the crops.”

He emphasized the nutritive value of the orange-fleshed sweet potato, saying, “We partner with women to show them how to turn this vegetable into delicious and nutritious dishes like porridge, fried chips and stew dishes.” According to Andy Karas, the project in 2015 was piloted in some selected communities where 400 women received support of 100,000 vines. “That year, we harvested 25 metric tons of healthy potatoes. Due to this success, we supported more than 2,000 women this year. These women planted 1.5 million vines on 100 acres this year; acres that will yielded 250 metric tons of orange-fleshed sweet potato.” The Gushiegu District Chief Executive, Seidu Abdulai, revealed that the district received a budgetary support of over GH¢1.2million for the 2015/2016 approved work plan under the RING project. “The estimated amount for 2017 is GH¢998,000.00. For OFSP alone, this year, the district spent a total of GH¢34,901.32 for the cultivation and management of cultural practices in 7 communities including Nyensung, which alone has a total of 34 households who were supported by this intervention with ploughing, seeds and farm tools.” Seidu Abdulai commended the USAID for complementing the assembly’s developmental efforts in areas such as livelihood, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and governance. The USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realise their potentials.

The USAID supports Ghana in increasing food security, improving basic healthcare, enhancing access to quality basic education and strengthening local governance to benefit all Ghanaian people. Through Feed the Future project, the U.S government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the USAID is collaborating with the Government of Ghana, the University for Development Studies and the Peace Corps to promote the cultivation and consumption of “Alaafei Wuljo” in the 17 districts of Northern Ghana. The OFSP is expected to improve the health of thousands of women and children in Northern Ghana.