Agriculture in Ghana has huge growth potential. Limited investments and policy-incoherence is unfortunately dwarfing its ability to expand. The current focus of Ghana's government on agriculture does not outline a clear theory of change to build confidence and establish future continuation with a governance change. Presently, it is difficult to establish plausible association between Ghana's broad development objectives and the policy reform areas, and between the policy areas and expected key results in the field.
The Editors at Agriculture in Africa Media have outlined nine simple reasons why the performance of Ghana's agricultural sector is less impressive and need real growth shift:
Reason 1: Insufficient access to extension services remains a key barrier to farmers’ uptake and use of productivity-enhancing technologies. Local-level delivery of agriculture services has worsened in recent years.
Reason 2: Yields of major crops in Ghana's breadbasket zones have been relatively flat and well below their potential. Farmers continue to face significant hurdles that limit the uptake of productivity-enhancing technologies and access to markets.
Reason 3: Fragmented coordination across the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development ( MLGRD), and other agencies. This is a key bottleneck to improving planning and management of the entire agricultural sector.
Reason 4: Environmental risks (including natural disasters and inconsistent rainfall) is high. Insufficient access to climate-smart technologies and adaptive services remains a key barrier to development of agriculture in Ghana.
Reason 5: It is difficult to develop realistic and actionable medium-term expenditure frameworks in Ghana. Weak fiscal management and incompetence is affecting regular in-flow of grant and loan investments to support investment in the agriculture sector.
Reason 6: Responsibilities in Ghana’s agriculture sector are fragmented across different state agencies. Additionally, limited participation of private sector institutions and dubious procurement/contracting practices have stagnated the sector.
Reason 7: Lack of clear objectives in defining development partner organisations' key initiatives in concrete and measurable terms to demonstrate impact, enhance attribution, and less project recycling and duplication.
Reason 8: About 80 per cent of Ghana’s agricultural output is produced by smallholder farmers on family-operated farms with average landholdings of less than 5 acres. Smallholder farmers in Ghana produce food crops, primarily under rain-fed conditions with low use of agro inputs. Food crop output was driven by area expansion and weather conditions rather than productivity.
Reason 9: Data-driven agriculture in Ghana is now a by-word not informed by local market insights to identify key actors and institutions driving real digital innovations.
It will be exciting if the relevant actors and policymakers take the above discussion points into consideration and strategise ways to address these. This is the time to think anew and enrich agriculture in Ghana.
News Source: Agriculture in Africa Media (formally, Agriculture in Ghana Media | Email:Editor@agricinafrica.com
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