Update on AGRA Programs and Grants in Ghana

PROGRAM FOR AFRICA’S SEED SYSTEM (PASS)

The AGRA PASS program focuses on four catalytic initiatives in Education and training, Crop improvement, Seed production and dissemination, and Agrodealer development. Some early accomplishments include:

  • Training and certification of 2,048 agrodealers in support of a farmer-focused input delivery system across the ten regions of Ghana through the Ghana Agro Dealer Development Program in collaboration with IFDC.  The program has also leveraged $3 million in financing for agrodealers through UT Bank, Stanbic Bank, and input suppliers alongside institutional strengthening of Ghana agri-input dealers association. Increased agrodealer densities have shortened farmers travel time to agri-input shops and halved the distance traveled by farmers to a national average of 7 km.  Trained agrodealers have moved 88,241 Mt of fertilizers and 11,284 MT of improved seeds to smallholder farmers.
  • The West African Center for Crop Improvement based in University of Ghana is training 32 PhD students in 4 cohorts drawn from across the region (Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon) working on most staple crops of West Africa in order to improve on the capacity of breeding institutions across selected countries in addressing farmers problems in the region. PASS also supported 10 students  at MSc level  in Plant Brreeding and Seed Science and Technology at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology from Ghana (6), Niger (1), Sierra Leone (1) and Liberia (2) who have already graduated and gone back to work in  their home countries. The second cohort comprises of  14 students from Ghana, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone and Liberia who are still in the middle of their MSc programs. All the graduated students are employed in either NARS or Seed Enterprises in their countries.
  • Twelve (12) new crop varieties have been released in Ghana. Thus, 4 varieties of cassava, 4 varieties of Maize and 4 varieties of rice are available for farmers. About 70 varieties and hybrids have been exchanged among breeders and local seed companies for testing. The linkage between breeders and seed producers was reinforced. More than 1.9MT of breeder and foundation seeds were produced and available for seed companies and others seed growers.
  • Support for five start-up seed companies (in Tamale, Kumasi, Ho, Ejura and Wa) to improve on the supply of high quality certified seeds of basic staples such as maize, rice, cowpea, and sorghum. The companies are also supported with business development services and linkages to financing through AGRA- supported West African Agricultural Investment Fund (WAAIF). AGRA has also provided support to the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Division in the revision of the old seed law which led to the enactment of the new Plant Bill.

SOIL HEALTH PROGRAM

SHP interventions in Ghana target 280,000 households and have five major components: soil health research, extension, education and training, fertilizer supply chain and policy. The purpose of these interventions are to enhance an efficient and economically sustainable supply of fertilizer, improve uptake of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) technology packages by smallholder farmers and create an enabling environment for successful investments in soil productivity. To achieve these goals, the following projects are currently being implemented:

•             PhD training in KNUST to create a critical mass of soil scientists in Africa

•             Collaboration with PPRSD on the implementation of the fertilizer regulatory system to Improve quality of fertilizers in Ghana

•             organization of stakeholders roundtables on various fertilizer issues  (tax, subsidy)

•             Intensify maize-based systems in the breadbasket

•             Increase productivity of small scale cassava based cropping systems to improve income and rural livelihood through adoption of integrated soil fertility management

•              Scaling out ISFM technologies in the Volta region

•             Improve knowledge on ISFM for farmers, extension agents and academic staff.

Some notable achievements of these investments include:

  • Eighteen (18) ISFM technologies were tested in 5 packages with 116 Farmer-based Organizations (FBOs) and covering 240 hectares. Maize yields increase range from 104% up to 564% compared to local practices and some interesting results for maize drought tolerant varieties and fertilization on soybeans are noted.
  • First cohort of 10 PhD students have started training on various aspects of ISFM at the KNUST which is now being linked with other universities in Africa and outside the continent.
  • The university laboratory has been upgraded to offer –  analytical services  for soils and fertilizers in Ghana.

MARKETS

The purpose of the Market Access program is to increase incomes and reduce poverty by promoting efficient and well-functioning markets that will create market linkages for millions of African farmers for them to sell their produce at good returns. The goal of the program is to improve the output markets by reducing transaction costs that erode farmer returns, increase value addition of staple crops thereby increasing incomes and consumption, promoting investments in alternative uses for food staples (animal feeds, starches etc.) and improvement of trading environment.

  • In Ghana, the AGRA-supported initiative Farmers –to-Markets project is facilitating organization of farmers into producer groups, contract farming to enable them gain access to established market outlets.  The project works with SMEs such as the Savanna Farmers Marketing Company, Tamale to support aggregation and bulking of farm products by smallholder farmers and linkages to reliable off-takers.
  • An Internet-based Mobile Phone Platform known as mFarms has been developed to link several value chain actors and improve on linkages and transparency in the marketplace. This platform is affording smallholder farmers the opportunity of building long term business linkages with marketing agents and further strengthening their farm productivity and entrepreneurial skills.
  • 19,500 farmers were profiled, geo-referenced and uploaded into the platform. 2,800 MT of soybean and maize were sold to aggregators.
    • Support to aggregation points with minimum post-harvest treatment equipment consisting of 75 tarpaulins, 96 weighing scales, 200 wooden pallets and 12 threshing platforms to upgrade their facilities.

POLICY & PARTNERSHIPS

In April 2011, AGRA launched Ghana Policy Nodes and Hub in Accra. The Policy Hub is aimed at developing progressive national agricultural policies to increase productivity, household incomes and assure household food security. It is a group of existing policy institutions that have technical expertise and commitment to work to address policy bottlenecks in priority areas such as improving seed policies to increase crop varieties, improve soil health technologies, expanding national and regional markets and trade for staple, food crops and securing land and property rights to accelerate investment in sustainable soil, land and water management.

AGRA Breadbasket Strategy

Breadbasket development is a vital component of Ghana’s Medium Term Agriculture development plan 2010-2015 which also agrees with AGRA’s strategy of demonstrating success in a few breadbasket areas that can trigger a continent-wide green revolution. Based on the high incidence of endemic poverty in the face of a huge potential for agricultural transformation, the Government of Ghana identified the Northern Ghana Breadbasket Area as the priority focus of government and development partners. Other breadbaskets include the Accra Plain, Afram Plain and Volta Basin.

Given this concurrence, AGRA has worked in conjunction with the government and development partners in Ghana to produce a detailed investment plan which describes the road-map for achieving the major goals of breadbasket transformation i.e. increased food security, farm household incomes and agriculture’s contribution to GDP.  The strategy focuses on 4 areas:

  • aggregation units for smallholder farmers,
  • commercial  farms,
  • high value crops and
  • Crosscutting areas (inputs, infrastructure, capabilities, policies and finance).

The first main output of AGRA’s Breadbasket strategy is a clear and detailed investment plan for major product value chains (maize, rice and soybean), including clear timelines, responsibilities, and monitoring tools.  The Breadbasket Investment Plan focuses on increasing the cultivated area by about 150 000 hectares, increasing rice production from 150,000 tons to more than 350,000 and increasing maize production from 140,000 tons to beyond 300,000 tons.  This is expected to raise the overall food self-sufficiency in Ghana to between 60 and 80%.

In pursuant of this, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has  established a multi-stakeholder Breadbasket Transformation Team to facilitate the process at the country level. AGRA has appointed a Country Officer to further reinforce the structure. Donors such as World Bank, USAID, DANIDA and IFAD have been engaged, and several stakeholder consultations have been held including stakeholder review and work-planning in Tamale, Ghana which mobilized actors for 2011 cropping season in March 2011. AGRA has planned a total of US$13.5 million new investments in 2011 to complement existing projects in the Northern Ghana Breadbasket.  Three implementing partners are   an integrated value chain facility involving about 34,000 farmers selected across 14 districts.  The Stanbic Bank, Ghana has also disbursed input credit worth US$0.67 million to trained agrodealers to enable them broaden the range of products supplied to smallholder farmers for the  2011 cropping season.

AGRA Grants in Ghana

From inception in 2007, AGRA has made substantial investments in Ghana across the  program areas. These include $3,978,750 on 2 projects on Breadbasket transformation, $12,420,000 on 24 projects on the Seed System, $3,332,961 on 2 projects facilitating market access, and $5,718,000 on 6 projects to improve soil health leading to a total of $24,788,809 on 34 projects across the agricultural value chain. Further details are as provided below.

Breadbasket Transformation Engines (BBTE)

International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) (in collaboration with Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and Ghana Association of Agribusinesses and Information Centers (GAABIC)

Agriculture Value Chain Mentorship Project (AVCMP) for Northern Region Breadbasket

Amount:  $2,833,750

Duration 6/01/2011-5/31/2014

Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Ghana Breadbasket Program and Northern Region Breadbasket Strategy Pilot Study

Amount: $1,145,000

Project duration: 2/1/2010 – 1/31/2011

PASS: Education for African Crop Improvement

University of Ghana

Establishment of a West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)

Amount: $5,781,859

Project duration: 6/1/2007  –  6/30/2012

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology

MSc training in Plant Breeding and Seed Science

Amount: $387,000

Project duration: 9/1/2008 – 8/31/2010

University of Ghana

A model breeding program for the training of research scientists in field orientated plant breeding techniques for West Africa.

Amount: $179,594

Project duration: 8/1/2009 –  7/31/2012

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology

Education for Africa’s Crop Improvement – M.Sc. Plant Breeding and Seed Science

Amount: $334,222

Project duration: 10/1/2010 –  9/30/2012

PASS: Fund for the Improvement of African Crops

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute

Development of maize varieties for the Guinea and Sudan Savanna zones of Ghana

Amount: $184,480

Project duration: 3/1/2008 –  2/28/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Improvement of farmer-preferred cassava landraces through introgression of genes for ACMV resistance and high dry matter for food and other uses

Amount: $179,845

Project duration: 3/1/2008 –  2/28/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Development of hybrid maize varieties for the forest and forest-transition zones of Ghana

Amount: $185,000

Project duration: 5/1/2008 –  4/30/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Improving farmer-preferred cowpea varieties through introgression of genes for flower thrips and cercospora leaf spot resistance

Amount: $184,860

Project duration: 8/1/2008 –  7/31/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Improving farmer-preferred groundnut varieties with high oil content and confectionery properties

Amount: $184,410

Project duration: 8/1/2009 –  7/31/2012

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Installation of facility for supplementary irrigation at Crops Research Institute for Improved crop and echnology development in Ghana

Amount: $289,580

Project duration: 5/1/2010 –  4/30/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute

Improving yield, quality and adaptability of upland and rain fed lowland rice varieties in Ghana to reduce dependency on imported rice

Amount: $184,820

Project duration: 5/1/2010 –  4/30/2013

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute

Development of improved soybean varieties adapted to the agro-ecologies and farming systems of the savanna zones of northern Ghana

Amount: $182,195

Project duration: 1/1/2011 –  12/31/2013

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute

Breeding for high yielding Improved Cowpea Varieties with Resistance to thrips, pod sucking bugs and Striga gesnerioides in Northern Ghana

Amount: $184,950

Project duration: 8/1/2011 – 7/31/2014

PASS: Seed Production and Dissemination in Africa

Alpha Seed Enterprise

Sustainable Seed Production and Promotion of Maize and other selected crops in the Forest and Forest Transition Zones of Ghana.

Amount: $150,000

Project duration: 10/1/2008 –  9/30/2010

Savanna Seed Services Company Limited

A Project to Supply Quality Seed of Cereals, Legumes, and Oil Crops to Resource-Poor Farmers in Northern Ghana

Amount: $149,973

Project duration: 6/1/2008 –  5/31/2010

M&B Seeds and Agricultural Services Ghana Limited

Improving access to quality seeds of maize, cowpea, rice and groundnuts for resource poor farmers in the Volta Region Ghana

Amount: $149,765

Project duration: 5/1/2009 –  4/30/2012

Antika Enterprises

Enhancing access to quality seeds for higher productivity of small-scale farmers in the Upper West Region of Ghana

Amount: $146,603

Project duration: 11/1/2010 –  10/31/2012

Isakuf Enterprise

Poverty Reduction Among Farmers Through the use of Improved Seeds

Amount: $153,543

Project duration: 3/1/2011 –  2/28/2014

Lexbok Investments

Improvement of small-scale farmers’ access to high quality improved seeds for higher productivity in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Amount: $197,770

Project duration: 6/1/2011 –  5/31/2014

Mabert Company Limited

Increasing productivity and reducing poverty among poor small-scale farmers in the Volta Region of Ghana by improving their access to quality certified seeds

$140,000

Project duration: 7/1/2011 –  6/30/2013

Agri Commercial Services Limited

Production and distribution of certified improved maize, sorghum, soybean, cowpea and tomato seeds for poverty reduction and food security in the transitional agro-ecological zone of Ghana

$129,948

Project duration: 7/1/2011 –  6/30/2014

Meridian Seeds and Nurseries Ghana Limited

Bridging the Seed Gap in Ghana’s Agricultural Commodity Market Networks for Sustainable Agricultural Development

$129,996

Project duration: 7/1/2011 –  6/30/2013

Josma Agro-Industry Ltd

Improvement of small scale farmers’ access to improved and disease resistant cassava planting materials

$130,000

Project duration: 8/1/2011 –  7/31/2013

PASS: Agrodealer Development Program

International Fertilizer Development Center

Ghana Agro-dealer Development (GADD)

Amount: $2,500,000

Project duration: 10/1/2008  –  9/30/2011

Market Access

International Fertilizer Development Center

Linking Farmers to Markets (FTM)

Amount: $1,881,770

Project duration: 12/1/2009 –  11/30/2012

Agribusiness Systems International

Ghana Smallholder Farmer Access to Improved warehousing Services Program in Ghana

Amount: $800,000

Project duration: 1/1/2011 –  12/31/2012

Soil Health Program

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research- Soil Research Institute

Increasing productivity of small scale cassava based cropping systems to improve income and rural livelihood through adoption of integrated soil fertility management of cassava-legume strip intercropping

$435,086

Project duration: 2/01/2011-1/31/2014

Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate

Ghana Fertilizer Regulatory Capacity Building for Agricultural Supply Productivity Project

$466,669

Project duration: 4/01/2011-3/31/2014

Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology

PhD Training in Soil Science in West Africa

$2,194,693

Project duration: 5/01/2010-4/30/2015

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute

Boosting maize-based cropping system productivity in northern Savannah zones of Ghana through widespread adoption of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)

$1,542,607

Project duration; 1/01/2010-1/31/2013

Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate

Promoting an Enabling Seed Policy Environment in Ghana

Amount: $428,450

Project duration: 5/1/2011 – –  4/30/2015

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Soil Research Institute

Promoting an Enabling Soil Health Policy in Ghana

Amount: $650,800

Project duration: 6/1/2011 —  5/31/2015