Panelists at a Farmers Day event organized by AGRA have call for better collaborations and partnerships to help improve agriculture in the country.
They say increased integration of the work of scientists, academic institutions, farmers, the donor community, private sector, government and other stakeholders in the agricultural space, will greatly transform the sector.
The panel discussion by AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) held at the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana was under the theme “building integrated and resilient food systems in Ghana.”
“What we have failed to do over the years is to collaborate and strengthen our partnerships. Particularly with the private sector… We need to do more. We need to share our knowledge as well to be able to have a more resilient food system in the country,” Anthony Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness told the forum.
Nana Adjei Ayeh who is President of the Ghana Rice Interprofessional Body said there is the need for government to increase its support for farmers. “If government will invest in extension officers in the rural areas, we will be able to build resilient systems. I see farmers fail every day in cocoa production, rice farming, among others. That partnership is important to reverse the situation,” he said.
Dr. Beatrice Ifie who is a plant breeder at WACCI said state institutions must collaborate with research organisations to come up with tools and technologies that can improve upon the work of farmers.
“We know globally, research isn’t sufficient. But we have seen those who have invested heavily in research have recorded tremendous economic growth. Research can develop innovations that we will take to our farmers that will improve their livelihoods. So, research is critical if we can build resilient food systems in the country,” she noted.
Dr. Dorothy Effah who is Program Officer in charge of Policy and Advocacy at AGRA emphasized the need to put farmers at the center of innovative initiatives. “We at AGRA are a farmer centered organization. AGRA, we really work with government, and farmers too,” she said.
Founding Director of WACCI Prof. Eric Danquah in a welcome address said the need for resilient food systems is more imperative today than ever. “We need to address the problem of resilience because if we don’t not do that, it is unlikely that we will not meet Sustainable Development Goal 2 on zero hunger. What Covid-19 has taught us is an important lesson. We need to innovate,” he noted.
Ghana Country Manager of AGRA Juliette Lampoh – Agroh commended farmers across the country for their contribution to ensuring food security. “We are proud that you our farmers have stood tall all through the difficult times to help make Ghana food and financially secure. And for that, we say Ayekooo,” she said.
Dr. Solomon Gyan Ansah who is Deputy Director in charge of Crop Services at the Ministry for Food and Agriculture assured government is committed to building integrated and resilient food systems in the country through the Planting for Food and Jobs Initiative, and other policy interventions.