The Canadian High Commission in Ghana yesterday handed over five new 30-seater buses to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for distribution to some agriculture colleges in the country.
Aside the vehicles, the colleges would receive quantities of Veronica buckets, hand sanitisers, nose masks, liquid soap and rolls of tissue to support their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation, valued at GH¢1.5million, the High Commission said, sought to improve the teaching and learning of agriculture in the colleges as well as enable the students to embark on field trips.
The beneficiary institutions are the Ohawu College of Agriculture in the Volta Region; the Animal Health and Production College at Pong in the Northern Region; the Kwadaso and the Ejura Agriculture Colleges in the Ashanti Region; and the Damango Agricultural College in the Savannah Region.
The government was in turn giving out the vehicles as part of its Technical Education Development for Modernised Agriculture(TEDMAC) Programme aimed at revitalising and modernising the country’s agriculture sector.
The Deputy Director and Chief of Operations Officer at the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, Stephanie Brunet, presenting the vehicles in Accra, said the implementation of a comprehensive market-oriented approach to farming would strengthen and modernise agriculture extension service delivery at the national, regional and district levels.
This, she said, could be done through the retooling of selected infrastructure to support the practical delivery of the modernised agricultural curricula in the colleges.
The buses, she explained, would help meet the transportation needs of students and tutors in terms of field and learning visits towards assisting farmers transform from subsistence to income-earning enterprises.
Ms Brunet indicated that Canada was closely monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on food security and access to safe and nutritious food.
She assured of Canada’s continuous partnership with Ghana in order to implement a comprehensive gender strategy to enrol and graduate women in the country’s forward match towards agricultural modernisation.
The Chief Director at MOFA, Robert Patrick Ankobea, commending the Canadian government, said the vehicles would go a long way to fulfil the mandate of the colleges.
He charged the colleges to adopt strict maintenance culture to ensure they were operational for a long time.
Mr Ankobea stated that the Ministry would severely sanction any college that would cause damage to the buses to serve as a deterrent to other institutions.
Project Manager of TEDMAC, Derrick Owusu-Ansah, said there was a partnership with the University of Missouri and that it would help promote the teaching and learning of Agriculture in the country’s colleges through the provision of logistics and infrastructure in the beneficiary institutions.
The Director of Human Resource Development at MOFA, Mr Lawoetey Tettey, assured of strict supervision of the use of the vehicles and urged the principals to adhere to maintenance protocols.
Dr Eric Obeng Bempong, on behalf of the principals, gave assurance of them going to take good care of the vehicles and urged the Ministry and other institutions to support the colleges achieve their mandates.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA AKPALU