USAID Honors Fisherfolk For Actions Toward Improved Food Security

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana

USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen awards Theresa Freeman with the title of “Most Outstanding Fisheries Leadership in Fish Processing” at Feed the Future’s awards ceremony to honor those who work to protect Ghana’s fishing industry. Photo credit: Priscilla Addison, USAID/Ghana

 

Accra, GHANA—On March 7, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Ghana’s Fisheries Commission, hosted an awards ceremony at Nungua beach to honor fishing communities and associations for their exemplary work to protect Ghana’s marine ecosystems and fish stocks. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Honorable Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, and USAID/Ghana Private Sector Team Lead Richard Chen attended and delivered remarks.

A total of18 fishing communities, associations and individuals residing along Ghana’s coastline were rewarded and honored for adopting responsible fishing practices. The awards ceremony aims to recognize women and men who support sustainable post-harvest practices and the preservation of Ghana’s marine ecosystems. SMFP, under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, works to rebuild fish stocks in Ghana and to curb overfishing.

“USAID is committed to working with the Government of Ghana to encourage the adoption of responsible fishing practices to prevent the depletion of Ghana’s fish stocks,” remarked Mr. Chen. “The purpose of this awards program is to spotlight outstanding leadership and dedication among individuals, communities and associations in the fishing sector, demonstrating good fishing management and practice.”

The awards ceremony, which is being held for the first time this year, will be held annually and will celebrate heroes of change in Ghana’s fisheries sector. The awards target institutions, associations, individuals and communities. Over 60 applications were received from Ghana’s four coastal regions. This event was organized by Feed the Future. In Ghana, Feed the Future works to increase the competitiveness of the fisheries, maize, rice and soy value chains to generate economic growth and market opportunities for vulnerable populations.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign gets to Volta Region

By: Ivy Setordjie,Joy News, Volta Region

The Volta regional technical committee for the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign has been inaugurated in the Volta Region with a call on the youth and the public to go into commercial farming.

A total of 7,914 farmers made of 5,885 males and 1,797 females have been registered for the campaign with the region registering 4,862 maize farmers to cultivate a total area of 14,400 Ha.

This means that the campaign’s target under maize production has been fully met. Hybrid maize would be established in the middle belt while the Open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) would be established in the southern and northern sectors of the region.

For rice, a total of 2,219 farmers have so far been registered and an area of 7,591Ha has been recorded and a deficit of 11,695 Ha of land is yet to be covered.

For vegetable production, a total 601 farmers have been registered for the cultivation of 2,499 Ha of land.

The Volta Region Minister, Archibald Yao Letsa, who Chairs the committee in a speech recently advised unemployed youth to go into farming to help increase food and raw material production instead of seeking for non-existing white-collar jobs.

He said Agriculture was a lucrative business if properly invested in.

He reminded the youth that venturing into farming would make them self-reliant and employers in the future.

He said that the advice to the youth has become imperative in view of the importance of farming to national growth and development.

“I want our youths to use their youthful agility toward commercial food production. This effort will enable them to improve their revenue base and become self-sufficient apart from contributing to national food security.” Dr Letsa said.

According to him, if many the youth go into commercial agriculture they would be able to cultivate many varieties during both rainy and dry seasons.

The minister also advised that the farming business requires patience, resilience, and commitment.

He reiterate the need for registered farmers to be educated  on the projects ongoing

He also announced that a lot of investors are interested in investing in the agric sector in the region, especially in the light of the current administration’s drive to establish a factory every district in Ghana.

The Regional Director of Agriculture, Samuel Kofi Larbi, said the technical team has been constituted in order to coordinate and monitor the main activities along the five pillars of the campaign.

According to him, the regional technical committee will also monitor the implementation of the program in the municipalities and districts to ensure that municipal and district technical committees which will be constituted to implement activities are captured in the action plan.

He said in line with the action plan for the implementation of the campaign, the regional, as well as the municipal and the district focal persons, have already been appointed and that farmer registration for the campaign are also ongoing.

He has, however, assured the farmers that the regional department of agriculture as well as the various municipal and the districts and departments are fully ready and committed to ensuring a successful implementation of the program.

“We are very much ready and committed to a successful Planting for Food and Jobs program,” he said

A member of the national technical committee, Kwame Amezah, said the policy within the national development agenda is to allow agriculture to contribute to the structural transformation of the economy and maximize the benefits of accelerated growths.

He said significant improvements in the productivity of the agricultural sector are required to raise the average income of Ghanaians.

Achieving sustainable food security in Ghana within the context of a phenomenal growth in population and increasing unemployment is a major challenge to the county development, Dr Amezah lamented

He said the campaign will focus on four key values chains – maize, rice, soybean, and sorghum – and promote peri-urban vegetable production. These will be outdoored for the industrial crops, cash crops, and livestock and others in subsequent years.

In 2008, the governing NPP introduced the fertilizer subsidy program with the aim of enhancing farmer access for increase crop productivity and subsequently growth in the agricultural sector.

The new government says it will continue with the fertilizer subsidy program it introduced in 2008 in addition to other incentives that will enhance the productivity of all category of farmers.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

CSIR releases five new varieties of Cowpea

By Joyce Danso, GNA

 

Accra March 10, GNA – The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the first time in history has released five varieties of cowpea through the exploitation of molecular technology simultaneously.

The varieties are; Zaayura Padi, Soo-Sima, Diffeele, Wang Kae and Kirkhouse Benga one.

Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, Director of Savana Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of CSIR who described the release of the five varieties as ground breaking event, said the varieties had three to four times higher yield than the other cowpeas.

Dr Nutsugah who made this known at the West African Cowpea Consortium (WACC) Annual meeting and Training Session in Accra for 41 participants said CSIR-SARI intends to release the latest varieties this year before the commencement of Ghana’s crop season.

The programme organised by CSIR-SARI and Kirkhouse Trust, a US based firm aimed at strengthening human and institutional capacity for cowpea research as well as providing selected infrastructure and equipment to enhance research capacity in cowpea improvement programme.

In Ghana, it is estimated that farmer yield of cowpea is 0.4 tonnes per hector however the new varieties are expected to increase farmer yield to 1.2 tonnes per hector.

Dr Nutsugah recounted that research into the new five varieties began in 2008 after scientists identified new sources of cowpea aphid resistant genotypes.

The Director of SARI noted that the new varieties were pest and disease resistant and would last longer.

He commended Kirkhouse Trust for bringing together research scientists and other professionals to create and disseminate international public goods that improve production and productivity that are pro-poor, gender equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Professor Michael Timko of University of Virginia, noted that over 75 per cent of cowpea production which took place in sub-Sahara Africa provided primary source of protein, income for small-holder farmers and contributed to subsistence crop farming.

However, he noted that the monetary loss in cowpea estimated between 100 million to one billion dollars annually was worrying.

Professor Timko said that was the reason why WACC and Kirkhouse Trust were building partnership to support cowpea improvement in West Africa through the use of molecular assisted breading and selection.

Dr V.K. Agyeman, Director General, CSIR commended Kirkhouse Trust for their increased and sustained support for research in Ghana

According to Dr Agyeman ‘CSIR-SARI alone has been a major beneficiary of a number of interventions since 2008 with an anticipated funding amounting to $656,333 dollars.’

Dr Agyeman said one of the major challenges of variety development was the expensive process and the long-time development process depending on the crop life cycle and breading strategy adopted.

In addition, the Director General noted that special skills were required to undertake the exercise.

He lauded government’s commitment towards developing agriculture and development of E-agriculture platform to address farmers needed.

Dr Agyeman said CSIR and Ministry of Food and Agriculture would work to ensure that cowpea was inculcated into government’s campaign on Planting for jobs.

He said transformation of livelihoods and reduction of poverty in West African Sub-region could be achieved if resultant low agricultural productivity was reserved.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

One village one dam policy is key to agriculture growth

GNA Feature by Samuel Adadi Akapule
Bolgatanga, March 11, GNA – Ghana did not err when the country agreed with a group of African countries in 2003, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, to allocate at least 10 per cent of public budgets to agriculture.

This was aimed at achieving six per cent growth in agriculture. One of the many good reasons for the decision is that empirically, it is established that agriculture contributes faster to poverty reduction than industrial investment does.

As a matter of fact, agricultural spending has wider redistributive effect than any other sector.

In Ghana, research has shown that at the national level, agricultural public expenditure has the highest returns in terms of agricultural productivity.

It is well established that for every one marginal cedi invested in agriculture, GH¢16.8 is returned. This is much higher than feeder roads returns of GH¢8.8 and GH¢1.3 for health.

In spite of this growing evidence of agriculture being the key in tackling poverty and transforming lives, the right amount of public investment is yet to be made in the sector.

In fact, researchers and think tanks including the Africa Centre for Energy Policy have it that agriculture share of public spending in Ghana is less than 10 per cent.

This is not only raising questions on the country’s commitment to the Maputo Declaration but also negatively affecting livelihoods.

Though very sad, it is not surprising to hear that the 3.6 per cent agricultural growth target for 2015 was not achieved.

Fortunately, the country has very huge potentials to grow and develop agriculture to the desired level, to accelerate development for improved livelihoods.

There are enormous agricultural investment opportunities in the country particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (SADA), which occupies more than 50 per cent of the total land space of Ghana.

The Zone has vast land for agriculture and could be targeted for total economic transformation of the country through agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, if the production of tomatoes and rice alone were the focus of Ghana, the nation would have been saving $ 400 million annually.

Targeting the SADA Zone and other parts of the country with the One Village One Dam Policy for all year round cropping of tomatoes and rice and revamping the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Tamale Rice Mills for agro-processing and value addition is the surest way and probably best policy option to help the country save $ 400 million annually and achieve sustainable macro-economic stability.

There is no doubt that the introduction of One Village One Dam Policy will undoubtedly increase food productivity and security, meet agricultural sector growth targets and fast-track the country’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the goals on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

Another justification for the introduction of the policy is that, research has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the upsurge of climate change is having a great impact on food production and a telling effect on food security in the Northern Ecological Zone of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority.

History has it that in the 1980s, the Upper East Region used to have rainfall in April and farmers could get busy on their farms by the tail end of April and early May.

Those days, farmers got abundant harvests that enabled them to feed their families throughout the dry season.

But the question one may ask is that, is it the same situation today? Certainly no, the situation got worse after the 1990s when the Region started recording first rains of the year in May and June.

As if this delay was not enough, the rainfall pattern also became erratic thereby affecting food production adversely and causing food security problems.

Nowadays farmers in the area, particularly smallholder farmers, find it difficult if not impossible to feed their families throughout the lean season, which stretches up to five months in the year, before the onset of the next farming season.

The Upper East scenario cuts across all the ecological zones of SADA including the Northern, Upper West and Volta Regions, as well as some parts of the Brong- Ahafo Region.

The signs of climate change in the zones are becoming so alarming that if measures are not taken now, it would worsen the food security situation in all of those areas.

The provision of dams and dug-outs would not only help harvest rain water for agricultural activities particularly in the dry season.

It would also take care of the large volumes of water that usually engulf parts of the Region whenever the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso is opened, which often leads to the loss of human lives, animals and the destruction of farmlands and other valuable properties.

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to run off.

Its benefits include the availability of water for gardening, for livestock, irrigation, domestic use (with proper treatment), and indoor heating for houses.

In many places like the Guangzhou province in China, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Beijing (China) the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation.

All these are good lessons for Ghana to learn and to adopt. Rain water, which is a resource from God must not be allowed to go waste while we the country wallow’s in hunger.

To sum up, there is no doubt that the One Village One Dam Policy is the Key to Sustainable Agriculture Growth and Development in Ghana, particularly the Northern Savannah Ecological Zones.

The Government must be commended for taking a bold decision to initiate the move and earmarking GH¢94.5 million for the One-Village-One-Dam in the 2017 budget.

What is needed urgently is for the Government to facilitate the process by encouraging local public-private partnerships and also going into partnership with foreign investors to help the construction of more dams and dugouts as well as de-silting old ones.

When this is done it would help accelerate the transformational agenda and help Ghana to make significant gains in the achievement of the SDGs.

 

Source: modernghana.com

CSO Platform on agriculture inaugurated in Tamale

By Caesar Abagali, GNA
Tamale, March 12, GNA – The USAID under its Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA), has inaugurated the Northern Ghana Civil Society Organisations Platform on agriculture.

It is aimed at strengthening CSO and private sector groups’ potentials for agricultural growth.

In line with the objective, the NGGA is supporting the revival of the Northern Ghana CSO Platform on agriculture, which URBANET, TradAid and CIKOD all local NGOs operating in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions are leading the platforms.

The Platform is a coalition of CSOs and private sector group and actors working in the agriculture value chain and meant to influence public policy processes that would improve agriculture outcomes in the north.

Mr Cyris Pul, Governance and Advocacy Specialist of the NGGA speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Tamale called for unity among CSO groups to ensure success.

He gave the assurance that the NGGA programme would strive harder to ensure improvement in agriculture growth in its operational areas.

He said the platform was expected to hold series of regional level CSO experience sharing and consultative forms to strengthen cross learning.

The NGGGA is a five-year project supported by USAID and implemented by a consortium of NGOs led by CARE International with Action Aid Ghana, WANEP-Ghana, SEND Ghana being the other partners who are working in 28 districts in Northern Ghana.

As part of Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the NGGA works to fortify the co-ordination and integration of decentralised agricultural development and to promote responsive governance for improved agricultural development in Ghana.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Jantong-Daboashie gets Rice Processing Centre

By Albert Futukpor, GNA
Jantong-Daboashie (N/R), March 12, GNA – A Rice Processing Centre, has been inaugurated at Jantong-Daboashie in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region to help farmers to process their rice for improved income.

The GH¢ 216,446 facility, which is to contribute to the reduction of unemployment among the youth and women in the District, has the capacity to process about 100,000 kilogrammes of paddy rice per day.

The facility was provided by the Presbyterian Farmers’ Training and Child Development Programme, (PFT – CDP) a non-governmental organisation, under its Youth and Women Economic Empowerment through Skills Training and Enterprise Development project.

It is being funded by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada.

Reverend Dr Solomon Sumani Sule-Saa, Chairperson of the Northern Presbytery, who spoke during the inauguration of the facility at Jantong-Daboashie, expressed hope that the project would bring relief to the teaming youth and women, who were the backbone of economic transformation in the area.

So far, 80 youth and 40 women have been trained in good agronomic practices and rice processing in the area.

Prior to the provision of the facility, young and adult women carried parboiled rice on their heads and walked for more than 30 kilometres to mill in Tamale while other rice farmers sold paddy rice at cheap prices to middlemen.

Reverend Sule-Saa said opportunities abounded in the District and advised the residents not to migrate to other places in search of better conditions.

Meanwhile, PFT – CDP has also formed 45 Village Savings and Loans Associations in 15 communities in the District where more than GH? 156,000 have been mobilized.

Plans are also on course to roll out Youth Savings and Loans Associations in the area to amongst others mobilise resources for investment.

PFT – CDP also intends to add groundnut shelling machines and subsequently a shea butter extraction plant in the area to boost economic activities.

Mr George Baiden, Country Director of CCFC assured of continued partnership with PFT – CDP to roll out other innovative interventions for the benefit of all.

Alhaji Abdul-Karim Yahaya, District Coordinating Director expressed the District Assembly’s support for the initiative, saying it would help improve incomes of the people.

A representative of the Paramount Chief of Jantong expressed gratitude to PFT – CDP and CCFC for the provision of the facility, which would enable residents to add value to rice produced.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Investment key in adapting to climate change in West Africa

 

Climate projections for West Africa show that crop yields and grass for livestock grazing are likely to decline in the future. But a new study in the journal Global Environmental Change shows that when ineffective institutions and political instability limit investment in agriculture climate change would have greater impacts on regional food security.

West Africa is a major producer of crops such as cassava, millet, and sorghum but in the future, regional production may not be able to meet the growing demand for food and livestock feed. “How and to what extent the region’s agricultural sector develops in the future will have profound implications for the livelihoods of millions of people,” says IIASA researcher Amanda Palazzo, who led the study.

“In some ways, West Africa is at the mercy of changes in the rest of the world — there is not much that people can do to stop global change on a local level. Our study shows that indeed, socioeconomic development and climate change in the rest of the world will affect West Africa. But that doesn’t mean that policymakers are powerless to avoid the impacts,” says Palazzo. “We found that food security in the region could improve even under the threat of climate change if the region takes a coordinated and long-term approach to investment and development.”

In particular, the study finds that investments in agriculture, specifically to improve crop yields, could lead to greater food production but also to an expansion of agricultural area into forest and other natural land within West Africa. However, regional productivity gains in the agriculture sector could help to reduce the global burden on land for agricultural production, in some cases sparing three times as much land outside the region for each hectare of land converted to agriculture within the region.

The study also shows that which people in the region make the decisions in managing resources, directing investments, and prioritizing market access, will be a key driver for the economic growth, and, therefore the food security, of the region.

In a process led by the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Palazzo and colleagues from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI) worked closely with local experts to develop plausible futures for the region. Then they linked the scenarios with the new global socioeconomic projections developed for climate change research — the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) — and adapted them to provide specific information for West Africa. In order to create scenarios that would be useful for regional planning, the researchers conducted extensive meetings with policymakers, farmers, and other stakeholders to gain an understanding of the many factors driving agricultural production in the region.

The study resulted in a package of scenarios specifically designed for West Africa, up to the year 2050, where climate change is considered an unavoidable outside force that looms in each scenario. The scenarios provide descriptions of potential future developments, including narratives as well as quantitative projections for factors such as population, economic growth, deforestation, land use, food production, and trade.

The scenarios have already proved useful to policymakers because they offer multiple, challenging future worlds in which they can test draft plans and policies. “This is quite unique. Often, the process ends after stakeholders and modelers finish envisioning scenarios through words and numbers. However, we design processes that allow policymakers to identify actions that are necessary to avoid potential problems or actions to take that have a good chance of yielding desirable results in all potential futures,” says Joost Vervoort, the scenarios officer for CCAFS and a senior researcher at the ECI, a study coauthor.

In 2015, policymakers used the scenarios to test and examine Burkina Faso’s National Plan for the Rural Sector (PNSR), which led to 22 policy recommendations. In 2016, versions of the scenarios were used to examine Ghana’s National Livestock Policy. These processes relied on model-based quantitative scenarios, to give policymakers insights into the development of the agriculture sector and measure the trade-offs between regional development, food security, and the environment.

 

Source: sciencedaily.com

Yara Plans Training For Female Farmers

 

Yara Ghana has instituted a programme called ‘One Step Forward’ to build the capacity of rural women farmers in agricultural best practices and free sample fertilizers.

As part of the initiative, the company hosted some selected members of the Development Action Association (DAA), a rural small holder farmers, at its Blending Unit and warehouses in Tema to afford the farmers the opportunity to observe at first-hand processes involved in the production, storage and delivery of fertilizers to farmers.

The farmers were led by the Founder and Executive Director of the DAA, Lydia Sasu.

Kwame Okyere, Marketing Assistant of Yara Ghana, said that apart from the training programmes offered by Yara agronomists to farmers on regular basis, the company will be giving out free samples of its Yara Mila Actyva fertilizer to women smallholder farmers, in addition to technical support.

“Currently, many farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa do not know what fertilizer is and do not follow best practice when it comes to optimal crop cultivation. This is due to minimal access to knowledge, misinformation and low quality or counterfeit fertilizer products which have not brought results, and have in many cases, actually damaged the soil and reduced farmer profitability,” he stated.

“Yara, being a farmer-centric company, has initiated the ‘One Step Forward’ Programme to focus on transferring agronomic principles and best practices throughout the growth cycle,ˮ he added.

He further stated that “the One Step Forward programme focuses on rural women farmers because of the critical roles they play in the family and community.”

The DAA team was briefed by a Manager of Yara Ghana, Perin Quarshie on the various processes involved in receiving products at the port, bagging process, transportation to the various warehouses across the country and final delivery to the farmers for application.

They were also conducted round the warehouses where various raw materials for the production of fertilizer products were stored. They then toured the blending unit used for the production of the popular Asaase Wura Cocoa fertilizer.

Some members of the group expressed their happiness at the opportunity to tour the Yara facility.

“It has really opened my eyes, and I now know the processes that the fertilizers we use go through before reaching us,ˮ said Rebecca Manortey, a member of the DAA.

According to her, “I used to think it was a very simple process but now I know better and I think the price of fertilizer is even low considering the work that goes into producing them,ˮ she added.

Madam Lydia Sasu expressed gratitude to Yara Ghana for the opportunity given them to tour the Yara Blending Unit and warehouses.

She expressed the hope that Yara Ghana will continue to support women farmers in Ghana, as well as collaborate with the organization in building the capacity of its members.

Founded in 1997, the DAA is an association of rural women farmers in Ghana that works to reduce poverty by empowering group members to be self-reliant and develop themselves.

DAA operates in 46 communities, with 98% of the beneficiaries being women.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Gov’t to distribute 180,000 tonnes of fertilizer to farmers in 2017

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that as part of measures to modernise and transform the agricultural sector, government will continue with the fertilizer subsidy programme.

The programme, he said, will improve productivity, help achieve food security and crop profitability for farmers.

Speaking at his first budget presentation in Parliament, the Minister said “In 2017, the ministry will continue the fertilizer subsidy programme to help increase the productivity of farmers.

“To this effect, we intend to distribute nationwide, an expected 180,000 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer [to farmers].”

The fertilizer subsidy programme was first introduced in June 2008 by the John Kufuor government, covering three types of inorganic fertilizer, Sulphate of Ammonia, Urea and Compound fertilizer.

The programme was designed as in intervention meant to help increase food production at the peak of the global financial, food and energy crisis that was adversely affecting poor countries.

However, this programme, together with the many others introduced to boost the agric sector have not exactly achieved expected results.

FARMER NEW

The sector has witnessed a steady decline and production levels have fallen consistently over the years.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo-led administration will, in the medium term, put measures in place to ensure that the sector bounces back.

This will begin with the launch of the planting for food and jobs campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage all citizens, both urban and rural, to take up farming as a full or part-time activity.

It is intended to be structured along the lines of the erstwhile ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ programme in the 1970s.

The campaign will involve the production of maize, rice, soya beans, sorghum and vegetables, other crops will be adopted in subsequent years.

The Minister said it will be anchored on five pillars; provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing and e-agriculture and monitoring.

He added that the initiative is “expected to increase the production of maize by 30 percent from the current production levels, rice by 49 percent, soya beans by 25 percent and sorghum  by 28 percent. This will create 750,000 both jobs direct and indirect employment.”

He indicated that the agriculture ministry will provide improved seeds to augment any shortfall for the planting for food and jobs campaign.

Fishermen

Fisheries sector

On fisheries, Mr Ofori-Atta said efforts have been made over the years to boost both marine and inland fishing and support aquaculture development and government intends to do more.

It will begin with the modernization of fishing methods to ensure sustainable fishing and also improve production levels.

“To modernise and transform the industry, the ministry will complete the first phase of the Anomabo fisheries college to enhance research and knowledge base in fisheries technology for all operators.

“It will also collaborate with relevant institutions and the private sector to develop modern landing sites and storage facilities at Cape Coast, Jamestown and Axim,” he said.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Agriculture Analysis On The 2017 Budget – Ilapi – Ghana

By:  Peter Bismark Kwofie

Agric Minister Dr. Akoto Osei

 

The solution of the NPP’s government to a seeming declining agricultural sector in the #Budget2017 is to modernize the sector and to improve productivity. Measures outlined, inter alia include: Provision of improved seeds; supply of fertilizers; provision of dedicated extension services; marketing and E-agriculture; and monitoring.

Concerns:
The measures indicated how much fertilizer will be supplied to achieve this objective, 180,000 metric tonnes for the year. It also indicated it will import improved seeds to augment the program. However,

1. One question here is why import improved seeds to augment? Improved and certified seeds could be obtained from MoFA, our universities and other research institutions like the CSIR.

2. No specifics were provided as to how much of these seeds will be supplied? How many Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) will be trained, recruited or deployed to various stations across the country for this program?

3. How are the goods in question going to be marketed, by which means, is it that government itself will deploy buyers at farm gate to buy these goods? Are the produce going to be sold processed or in raw form?

4. Any plans in place to arrest postharvest losses, which is one major challenge for farmers, especially those producing cereals? What of packaging?

5. In terms of monitoring, how is it going to be done/achieved? How is progress going to be measured and evaluated?

6. Most importantly, the budget did not indicate how much it will cost to achieve each of these objectives. No detail information and specifics were shared on this.

7. The budget also did not provide specific timelines to achieve each of these objectives.

Main Focus: The Planting for Food and Jobs Program.

This is to encourage all citizens (both urban and rural) to take up farming as a full or part-time activity. It is intended to structure it along the lines of the erstwhile “Operation Feed Yourself”(OFY) programme in the 1970s under Acheampong’s regime. The program is envisaged to provide jobs to about 750,000 people. This is laudable initiative.

This program will ensure all year food production, improves food security, curb food shortage, provide jobs, improve family income, improve livelihoods, ensures judicious use of land resources, etc. This program is similar to that used in urban agriculture. Countries such as Cuba, for example, successfully used urban agriculture as a means to evade food shortages (See Murphy, 2004), while many developing countries have long been farming within cities and towns for income and subsistence (See Nugent, 2001). Strong institutional efforts and technical assistance will be needed to achieve this.

Concerns:
1. Cost details were not provided.
2. How did they arrive at conclusion of 750,000 jobs?

3. The other projection of 30 percent from current production levels, rice by 49 %, soybean by 25 % and sorghum by 28 %.

4. How did these projections come about when there was no mentioning of the costs involved?

5. No investments plans made for the livestock sector?

6. No plans of irrigation facilities and investments to increase acreage of farmlands?

7. No allocation made for climate smart agriculture initiatives and investments to boost production for farmers especially in the face of climate change? This is another external shock facing the agricultural sector. Climate change, leading to delayed and erratic rain pattern in some parts of our agricultural industrial areas, and this natural phenomenon has affected agricultural output drastically.

8. Access to credits by farmers? This is a major issue facing farmers. The budget failed to elaborate on that but still seeking to subsidize farm inputs in the short term.

9. How much allocation made for research initiatives towards achieving these objectives?

10. Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The budget failed to tackle the GMO situation and its commercialization in the country. One major concern is that the importation of the said improved seeds would lead to introduction of GMOs into the country. Farmers and the general public are ignorant of these GMOs and would there be public education on this mystery seeds before it implementation?

The Ghana National Biosafety Authority has issued Guidelines on handling requests for the use of GMOs in Ghana. This is in accordance with Section 40(3) of the Biosafety Act, which mandates the Authority to issue guidelines on its operations. This was not captured in the budget as to how the regulation would be carried with cost and evaluation tendencies. The plant breeder bill has faced a lot of heckles in the years with civil societies asking for further amendments to avert certain uncertainties. The procedures that any individual or entity need to go through in requesting approval to undertake confined field trials, commercialise, import and export GMOs out of the country needs a better education to sensitize the populace. This obviously denotes that, no matter how the agitation to GMOs in the country, the government would still legalize it use.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is currently undertaking field trials of GMO cotton, cowpea and rice as part of approval procedures before they could be released onto the market. However, information getting to the desk of the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation is alleged that there are cabalistic distributions of GMO seeds to farmers in some parts of the country even though commercialization has not begun.

STATISTICS
Agriculture has been the principal sector for the development and growth of the economy in the past years. The contribution of agriculture to GDP in the other years is: 2010 – 29.8%, 2011 – 25.3%, 2012 – 22.9%, 2013 – 22.4%, 2014 – 21.5%. It dropped from 31.8% in 2009 to 29.8% in 2010, representing 2% GDP contribution lost. In 2011, agriculture’s contribution dropped by 4.5% to 25.3% while 2012 recorded a 2.4%.

The year 2013 recorded a 0.5% drop in the contribution of agriculture from 22.9% in 2012 to 22.4% in 2013. Total spending on Agriculture Modernisation in 2015 amounted to GH¢27.04 million against a budget of GH¢30.57 million. Of this amount, spending on Food and Agriculture infrastructure amounted to GH¢26.24 million. This was particularly for the construction and rehabilitation of dams and irrigation infrastructure and fertiliser subsidy.

Additionally, GH¢0.80 million was advanced towards the construction of the Fisheries College and aquaculture development. On the food, which food programs were carried out? Are there any national food storage facilities? NO! We stand to be corrected. Subsidies are medieval, a negative sum transaction and enables government spending and corruption. It would be good to bring into light the allocated amount for fertilizer subsidies, including how many farmers benefited and the outcome of this welfare practice.

The Agriculture Sector is expected to record an average growth rate of 3.3% in the medium term from the 2017 Budget. The Sector is expected to record a growth of 3.5% for both 2016 and 2017, declining to 3.0% in 2018. This may not be able to accounts for about 40% of GDP and generates 60% of foreign exchange earnings in the medium term. What we produce may feed the one-district-one-factory projects and the quality of the finished produce may or may not attract export. Government cut its 2016 expenditure on the sector by GHC40 million despite growth in the sector stalling to 0.04%.

In 2015 government’s budgeted expenditure on the agricultural sector is GHC395.19 million while for 2016, GHC355.14 million was been budgeted, indicating a 10.1% decrease. By the end of September 2015, GHC91.54 million had been spent out of the GHs395.19 million budgeted. Out of the GHC91.54 million spent, about GHs82.57 million of this actual sector expenditure, representing 90.21%, was spent on poverty-focused expenditures and still there is poverty.

There are lots of activities that go on in the service sector better and more than the agricultural sector shifting the goal post to the former. Agriculture was the main source of growth and foreign exchange until when oil production replaced it as the cornerstone of growth for the formal economy. In 2015 the GDP growth of the service sector accrued GHs17,470.0 million and agriculture once the backbone and mainstay of Ghana’s economy made GHs 7,365.o million.

The Industry Sector is projected to record an average growth rate of 13.2% in the medium-term, the highest rate among the sectors. The Sector is expected to grow by 17% in 2016, 18.3% in 2017, and 14.3% in 2018. If the growth of industries demand exceeds the productions of raw materials from the agricultural sector, local industries would have no option than to import raw materials to meet the deficits.

In 2015, GDP from Manufacturing in Ghana was GH¢ 2,288.0 million which is far below that of agriculture GH¢7,365.0 million. However, industrialization is expected to increase and would put pressure on raw materials from our farms. We export more of our raw materials than we import and this may intern lead to the importation of raw materials for our industries. Care must be taken not to get it twisted. Switzerland exports finished products such as pharmaceutical products, tools and equipment and vehicles to Ghana whiles we export raw materials such as Gold, cocoa and Cashew nuts. To digress, in 2014 alone, the volume of trade between Switzerland and Ghana hit $1.8 billion and has since been rising every year. Within the same period, Ghana imported $14.8 billion, making it the 87th largest importer in the world. Ghana imports tones of snails, and fresh vegetables from its regional neighbours. The budget failed to address importation except that of fingerlings.

Over the last five years, the imports of Ghana have increased at an annualized rate of 13.7% from $7.8 billion in 2009 to $14.8 billion in 2014 and about 70% are finished goods. Switzerland imported over $2 billion worth of gold from Ghana in 2016 alone for conversion to finished products for the world market. This shows an overwhelming increase of about $90 million dollars over the 2015 figure of $1 billion. The new government must endeavour to stabilising the economy and laying the best foundation for a sustainable, accelerated and job creating agro-based industrial growth.

COMMENTARY
In Ghana, the Government’s role in agriculture over the years has been extensive as reflected in the public expenditures and programmes until the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme in 1983. During that period, prior to the Sector Agricultural Policy (SAP), the BOG initiated a number of projects in line with the intervention policies of the day, intended to boost the agricultural sector of the economy. These policies led to the implementation of agricultural development schemes such as the Cocoa Bill Financing Scheme, Grains Bill Financing Scheme, Grains Warehousing Company. Other Bank of Ghana Agricultural projects include, Shai Hills Cattle Ranch, Agricultural Development Company (ADC), Wulugu Livestock Company, and the Jukwa, Okumanin, Fosu and Akwamsrerm (JoFA) Project. With the exception of the JOFA project, which was partially successful, the other projects did not achieve their set objectives due to inappropriate policies adopted by their managements. (Agriculture Sector policy-BOG, 2003)

For the implementation of programmes and activities in the cocoa, livestock and the plant ecology in 2017, an amount of GH₵501,501,708.00 has been allocated. Out of this, GH₵322,094,227.00 is from the government of Ghana, GH₵4,065,650.00 is internally generated fund and GH₵175,341,831.00 is from Development Partners. Local Poultry production to meet domestic demand as against high imports of frozen chicken was silent in the budget. There were no estimated outturns on expenditure in the sub-sector. The Savannah Accelerated Development Agency (SADA) also failed to be mentioned as an agency to see to the implementation of major agricultural programmes in the Northern Sector. SADA is heavily donor funded as an autonomous agency to boost development with its action plan but their needs were absent to be addressed.

Most agricultural projects depended heavily on the Ministry of Agriculture mediatorships resulting in top-down planning and implementation, less satisfactory relevance and cost-effectiveness and poor ownership of the programmes by the beneficiaries. These ‘’monocultural’’ government interventions have taken place year after year and the 2017 budget failed to give meaningful structural operational system to avert the ulcerations. From the 2017 Budget, GH₵52,706,712.00 has been allocated for the fishery sector of which GH₵28,857,495.00 is from the Government of Ghana, GH₵11,875,210.00 is internally generated funds (IGF), and GH₵11,974,008.00 is from Development Partners. With this, an amount of $500 million is expected from the shrimps, Mollusca, clams and tilapia earnings and estimated amount of $42 million net savings in the aquaculture production. The central government is funding more than 50% of the allocated money to the ministry and about 26% from donors and 24% from IGF.

To ensure a lasting sustainability of new projects in a decentralized manner, with most of the planning, implementation and decision-making taking place at the district level, the private sector must be allowed to play a major role to squeezing out the best tasteful liquid from the rock.

‘’In 2016, the Ministry will rehabilitate public laboratories at Koforidua, Kumasi, Tamale and Ho’’. This is a 2017 budget and not 2016 and that care must be taken with what is written to allow for accountability. Fish extension service delivery will focus on disease detection, prevention and control particularly in the Aquaculture sub-sector. Setting a fishery laboratory in Koforidua is a misplaced priority. No fishing activities go on in the Eastern capital to have such facility. The Afram Plains and akosombo are where active fishing activities takes place. Why in Koforidua?

Agricultural growth might be slow this year due to the prevailing adverse macroeconomic conditions and the IMF conditionalities unless otherwise there is production incentives induced by the economic reforms, in the medium Term. The agriculture sector should not be used as means for poverty reduction strategy done in the past but Modernization of agriculture based on rural development, agribusiness focussing on domestic consumption and export , easy access to lands as in property rights, assisting the private sector to increase food production through facilitating extensions, research and financial services, and irrigation facilities and improving on the use of technology in giving soil, soil fertility, improved seeds and weather information and communication and means to economic freedom in the long term. A national land policy is needed to demarcate lands for agriculture and real estate developments.

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Source: modernghana.com