The Government of Ghana has received an advance on the proceeds of a credit from the International Development Agency (IDA – World Bank Group) to finance the preparation of the proposed Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP). The project preparation is under the overall responsibility of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). The development objective of GCAP is to improve the investment climate for agri-business and establish inclusive PPPs aimed at increasing on-farm productivity and value addition in selected value chains in the Accra Plains and the Northern regions (SADA). The activities will trigger the environmental assessment policy (OP.4.01). The impacts here will range from small scale and site specific to larger infrastructure investment projects associated with category A projects of the World Bank as well as trigger sections of the Environmental Assessment Regulations of the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since the GCAP is evolving, the appropriate instrument at this stage is the Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)1.
Purpose of the ESMF
The general framework for the assessment and management of environmental and social safeguards of developments/projects in Ghana is provided in the Environmental Assessment (EA) Regulations – Legislative Instrument (LI) 1652. Some development partners however, have their respective Environmental and Social (E&S) safeguards procedures and policies which must be followed for projects funded by them. As part of the funding arrangements for the GCAP therefore, the World Bank’s E&S safeguards policies (OP/BP 4.01) applies. This requires the preparation of an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) along with an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP). The features of the GCAP which make an ESMF the appropriate requirement under the Bank’s OP/BP 4.01 are listed below. The GCAP has:
• A number of sub-projects and components;
• Various developmental stages to be carried out in modules;
• Sub-projects spread over a wide geographic area
• Implementation phases and duration spread over 5 years; and
• Design of the sub-projects and exact locations for implementation, as well as impacts are not yet determined at this stage.
The ESMF spells out the E&S safeguards, institutional arrangements and capacity required to use the framework. This ensures that sub-projects under the GCAP
meet the national and local E&S requirements, and also consistent with OP/BP 4.01 and OP/BP 4.12 (of the Bank). The ESMF sets out basic principles and processes within which the sub-projects are implemented agreeable to all parties. The other objectives of the ESMF include:
• Assessment of potential adverse E&S impacts commonly associated with the sub-projects and the way to avoid, minimize or mitigate them;
• Establishment of clear procedures and methodologies for the E&S planning, review, approval and implementation of sub-projects;
• Development of an ESA screening/initial assessment system to be used for sub-projects; and
• Specification of roles and responsibilities and the necessary reporting procedures for managing and monitoring sub-project E&S concerns.
The Proposed Project
The proposed project would have two components, with the first being focused on improving the overall investment climate for agricultural development in Ghana, and the second more directly targeting private sector led agricultural investment involving smallholder farmers through PPP arrangements. The second component would initially be focused in the Northern and Accra Plains regions but, depending upon outcomes, could be extended to other areas.
Policy, Legal and Administrative Framework
The policy, legislation and institutional procedures of Ghana and those of the World Bank, which are relevant to the sector and GCAP and therefore considered included:
• National environmental requirements;
• National labour, safety and health requirements;
• International and regional requirements; and
• World Bank operational Safeguards requirements.
The major national policy documents comprise the Medium Term National Development Policy Framework (Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda- GSGDA)), 2010 to 2013 and the PPP Policy Document (MoFEP, 2011). The regulatory framework is underpinned by the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 1992, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is spearheading the institutional effort.
The EPA Act 1994 (Act 490) and Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999 LI1652 establish procedures for an ESIA process in Ghana. The World Bank is guided by policies/ procedures to ensure the safe development of projects it is funding. The relevant WB safeguards policies triggered by the projects include :OP/BP, 4.01 Environmental Assessment , OP/BP 4.04 Natural Habitats, OP/BP 4.09 Pest Management , OP/BP
4.11 Physical Cultural Resources , OP/BP 4.12 Involuntary Resettlement , OP/BP 4.36 Forests , OP/BP 4.37 Safety of Dams , and OP/BP 7.50 Projects on International Waterways .
The World Bank safeguard policies override the Ghana policies should there be any discrepancy.
The project location is within the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Regions and Accra Plains Regions of Ghana. The SADA Regions comprise Upper East Region, Upper West Region, Northern Region and northern parts of the Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions.
Accra Plains Project Area
The project area called Accra Plains is located south of the country. It is bounded on the west by the river Dechidaw crossing Dawhenya that extends to Kpong dam. On the south, it is bounded by Accra‐Ada Highway and on the North and East by Volta region. The plains are an advantageous area for irrigation because of its proximity to major agricultural products markets and also its easy access to the port and airport facilitates export. In addition, Accra plains are drained from their eastern border by Volta River downstream of Kpong hydropower dam. The Districts concerned by Accra Plains Irrigation Project are: Yilo Krobo District, South Tongu District, North Tongu District, Dangbe East District and Dangbe West.
The entire project area of 11,000 ha falls under two customary settings. They are; the Osudoku Traditional Area and the North Tongu Traditional Area. Customary land ownership in the form of family lands is the main type of land ownership within the project area. Family lands are vested in the head of the family and is not under government control. They are governed by customary laws prescribed by the local community. Other forms of land ownership within the project area include public land and individual land owners.
The SADA Regions
The Northern Savanna forms more than half of the total Ghana land surface cover of about 239,000 square km (23.9 million ha). The project area lies between latitudes 80 and 110 N and longitude 10 E and 30W. Togo bound it to the east, Burkina Faso to the north, Cote d’lvoire to the west and the high forest ecological zone to the south. The economy of the northern savanna ecological zone is based mainly on agriculture, which is the basis of livelihood for a majority of the population. The small-scale family holding is the basic unit of production. Most of the project area falls within the Guinea Savanna zone, although activities may extend into a small area of Sudan Savanna in the extreme northeast corner of the country.