By: Linda Dede Nyanya Godji
The USAID West Africa Trade Hub believes that a thriving and resilient agricultural sector is critical to supporting food security and boosting economic growth. It is for this reason, Majority of its’ investments within the sub-region is focused on expanding agricultural activities in partnership with the private sector
In an interview with agrighanaonline.com, the Acting Chief of Party for the Hub, Mr. Karl Littlejohn noted that as of the end of August, the Trade Hub had 29 co-investment grants valued at over $27 million with companies to improve agriculture across the region.
“Almost all our investments in West Africa are currently targeting the agribusiness sector because of our commitment to increasing food security and the strong potential to increase trade to the United States thanks to the wide variety of agricultural products.” Mr. Karl Littlejohn added.
Mr. Karl Littlejohn stated that in Ghana alone, many of the co-investments specifically target agribusinesses that are geared towards export especially to the United States to promote the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative.
For instance, the Hub has co-invested with 8 Degrees North, to supply Pacha Soap Co., an American company, with 100% organic palm oil for their cosmetic products. Some of the agricultural sectors the Hub has a co-investment range from those focused on rice, maize, and soybean production to cashews, shea, and honey.
Recently, the Trade Hub co-partnered Warc Ghana, and its parent company, Warc Group, to help alleviate poverty among smallholder farmers in Ghana. This Mr. Karl Littlejohn was positive that Warc Group had already shown success in increasing crop production and boosting smallholder farmers’ incomes through various innovative means hence, the project will be successful.
“We were particularly impressed by the service delivery unit model they developed to give smallholders access to seeds, fertilizers, and agricultural services they would otherwise not be able to afford. Throughout the partnership, we will monitor Warc Ghana’s progress in meeting the project’s goals, which include generating $4.76 in annual exports from the crops produced by 2024. We will also work hand in hand with them to address any challenges to the project’s success” He added.
The trade and Investment Hub continues to look for innovative, high-potential companies in the agricultural sector to partner with that illustrate a clear impact on smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods.
A co-investment partnership is just one of many avenues to collaborate with the Trade Hub. In addition to providing grant funding to companies, we also provide technical assistance to businesses so they can benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and export products and goods to the United States duty-free. I am also excited that we have launched a Virtual DealRoom, through AsokaInsight, that gives investment-ready, high-impact businesses an opportunity to reach investors and catalyze additional new private investment into the region.