United States invest GHc10 million in sustainable fonio production

The United States (US) Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is investing $742,000 (10.8 million Ghana Cedis) in fonio production to increase food security and improve farmers’ livelihoods in northern Ghana.

This funding will support AMAATI, a Ghanaian social enterprise, to expand its fonio processing capacity from three to 10 metric tonnes per day at its factory in Tamale.

Fonio is a drought-resistant, gluten-free, grain from the millet family.

It regenerates degraded soil and is packed with numerous nutrients and health benefits.

A statement issued by the US Embassy on Thursday, copied to the Ghana News Agency, quoted the USAID/Ghana Deputy Mission Director, Madam Grace Lang, as saying: ‘Fonio isn’t just a grain; it’s a symbol of resilience, empowerment, and progress for communities across northern Ghana, especially for women, who have limited access to land.’

‘Since 2021, USAID’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) has supported AMAATI, which pioneered the r
evival of fonio in northern Ghana, to develop a 1,000-hectare fonio farm.’

‘It is also to train 8,100 landless and disenfranchised farmers, mainly women and youth, to produce and process fonio, to engage in good agricultural practices, and to export fonio worth $4.6 million (66.9 million Ghana Cedis).’

‘This factory represents our (USAID and AMAATI) joint commitment to develop the fonio market in West Africa. It will enable more women and youth in northern Ghana to engage in fonio farming and facilitate value-added manufacturing of the super grain for domestic consumption and export.’

The US is Ghana’s largest bilateral development partner.

In 2023, USAID’s bilateral development assistance, totaling over $140 million, was dedicated to supporting agriculture, economic growth, health, education, and governance among others.

The statement said: ‘WATIH supports businesses like AMAATI, to increase productivity and competitiveness, and access the US market. Through the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGO
A), Ghana can export more than 6,500 products to the United States duty free.’

Source: Ghana News Agency