The report “Closing the Funding Gaps in Agriculture; Implication for Food Security in rural Ghana,” focuses on improving food security and sustainable economic growth for smallholder farmers through agriculture financing and partnership between various stakeholders.
Mr. Raymond Wekem Avatim, SEND GHANA’s Director in charge of the Livelihood Security Programme said, gradually the Eastern Corridor (EC) of Ghana which is agriculture dependent area is becoming food insecure due to a number of issues. He argues that, one of the key challenges has to do with existing funding gap in the sector. “The funding support for agriculture is dwindling.” Between 2010 and 2014, majority of sampled Departments of Agriculture (DoAs) at the District level experienced shortfalls in funding to implement agricultural activities.
“The timing of the release of funds for Agriculture activities comes very late and this is resulting in dwindling yield. Another worrying situation is the unavailability of extension agents. They are very few and the few cannot serve huge number of farmers in the EC. The importance of women in contributing to agriculture productivity cannot be over emphasised. But when it comes to access to input especially tractors they are marginalized.” He advised that, stakeholders must come together and address these challenges.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Nelson Namikat Duut, a Director of Agric, Agri-Business and Agro Processing at the Savannah Accelerated Authority (SADA) questioned whether Ghana’s agric policy is really working because according to him, “we have not been able to commercialise Agric to the levels that we want.” He entreated stakeholders to ensure that the cutlass and hoe gave way to commercial Agriculture in order to make Ghana food secure. “Agriculture should be seen as a business,” he added.
FOSTERING is an acronym for “Food Security through Cooperatives in Northern Ghana”. It is a five year integrated food security project being implemented by SEND GHANA in collaboration with Canadian Co-operatives Association (CCA) and the Credit Unions Association (CUA) of Ghana Limited, with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
A key component of the FOSTERING project is advocacy and public policy engagement on the implementation of district agriculture sector programmes and budgets to ensure food security. As part of the project, SEND GHANA commissioned the study in July 2015 to track budgetary allocations and expenditure patterns in the agriculture sector at the district level. The report explored collaborations among different stakeholders (public, private, Civil Society Organisations and donors) in the implementation of food security initiatives.
The report said to address the challenges of Agriculture, District Assemblies should prioritise agricultural activities in their budgets.
There is the need for all institutions to improve targeting to get more women to access inputs and services such as extension and tractor to boost their capacity in increasing production and access to storage and market for improved food security.
The study was carried out in eight districts in the Eastern Corridor of Ghana where FOSTERING project is being implemented.