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Agric Sector in Perspective

Bernard Baruch an American financier and stock investor once said, “Agriculture is the greatest and fundamentally the most important of our industries. The cities are but the branches of the tree of national life, the roots of which go deeply into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer.”  

                                          

The above statement sounds literally true, because the very existence of man depends largely on agriculture. For this reason, the priorities of the agricultural sector are aligned to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They particularly respond to Goal 2 which assures to end hunger and ensure access by all people to safe nutritious and sufficient food all year round and Goal 8 which promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth through high value added, labour intensive sectors as agriculture.

 

The priorities are also to respond to the 2014 Maputo Declaration on accelerated Agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity with commitments to increase investments in agriculture, reduce postharvest losses and boost intra Africa trade.

 

The Government assumed office in 2017 with a commitment and agenda to transform agriculture and put it on a sustainable path of accelerated growth and development for larger economic and social benefits to the nation.

Coming from a backdrop of poor performance of the sector with erratic agricultural sector growth rates over nearly a decade averaging 3.4%. This was evident in low farm yields as only 11% of farmers used improved seeds and about 20% used fertilizers, high post-harvest losses, low level of mechanization, ill motivated extension staff, poor agricultural infrastructure, weak linkages with other sectors and a general lack of access to agricultural support services.

Planting for Food and Jobs

The Government set out in 2017 to prosecute its agricultural transformation agenda with several interventions, starting with the Planting for and Jobs (PFJ) Campaign which was launched in April 2017.  The PFJ focused on improving the yields of farmers, access to markets, reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing extension services delivery.

Farm Production

After one-year of the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme, the sector witnessed a growth rate of 8.4 percent in 2017. It is important to mention that significant yield increases were recorded for selected crops; maize yield increased by 67 percent from 1.8mt/ha to 3.0mt/ha; rice yield increased by 48 percent from 2.7mt/ha to 4.0mt/ha and soya yield increased by 150 percent from 1mt/ha to 2.5mt/ha.   The success achieved since the introduction of the programme is an indication that government is on the right path towards the transformation and modernization of agriculture.

 

PFJ Farmer Participation

On account of the success in 2017, government implemented an expanded version of the PFJ in 2018 with more ambitious targets. Compared to 202,000 farmers in 2017, a total of 500,000 farmers were targeted to be supplied with subsidized fertilizers and seeds for the 2018 cropping season. A total of 577,000 farmers have so far had access to the inputs, which is in excess of the planned target for the year.

A total of 278,000 farmers have been captured on the biometric database and the exercise is still on-going. In 2019, the Planting for Food and Jobs programme will continue with a target enrolment of 1 million farmers and registration of additional 500,000 farmers on the biometric farmer database system;

Farm Inputs and Extension Services

In 2018, a total of 183,000mt of fertilizers, 7,600mt of seeds and cassava planting materials have been distributed across the country.  In 2019, 13,000mt of subsidized seeds for priority crops (cereals, legumes and vegetables) and 200,000 bundles of cassava planting materials; 438,900mt subsidized inorganic fertilizer and 30,000mt of organic fertilizers will be distributed. It is estimated that the distribution of the subsidized inputs to the farmers will translate into a total of 1.2 million metric tons of additional production of cereals and legumes in 2019.

In 2016, the Extension Agent to Farmer ratio was 1:2,500.  This was significantly improved to 1:1,165 with engagement of 3,000 extension agents comprising Youth Employment Agency and National Service Personnel and the recruitment of 2,700 extension agents and other relevant staff in 2018. Government, with the support of the Canadian Government distributed 216 brand new pickups to the Departments of Agriculture of the District Assemblies. Additionally, 3,000 motorbikes were procured for distribution to extension agents. 

The Fall Army Worm (FAW) was first detected in Ghana in 2016.  In 2017, it destroyed 14,000 hectares of maize fields. The pest was brought under control in 2018 with the destruction of only 79 hectares of maize fields.  This significant achievement was as a result of early planning, sensitization, training of Extension Agents and farmers and timely distribution of chemicals to all the 216 districts. A total of 120,000 litres and 20,000kg of pesticides were procured. To maintain vigilance in 2019, MoFA will adopt the same approach as in 2018 to keep the pest under control.

 

Farm Mechanization

Unlike the previous two years (2016 to 2017), there was no import of farm machinery in 2018. However, two facilities worth US$220 million will become available for the import of other farm machinery and equipment in 2019. These are the 2nd and 3rd tranches of the Brazilian Facility worth US$66 million and the US$150 million from the Indian Exim Bank. A feature of this investment is the emphasis placed on machinery and equipment suitable for smallholder farmers. The machinery and equipment will be used to revive the 168 existing Agricultural Mechanization Services Centers (AMSECs) and to establish new ones where necessary. This is to reduce drudgery and improve efficiency in machinery will be used for land preparation, planting, harvesting and primary processing.

Irrigation

The Government will continue to scale up irrigation development in line with the One-Village-One Dam agenda. In 2018, the Ministry through Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), continued the development of irrigation projects initiated in 2017. These included Tamne Phase I dam which is at 84% completion and other dams at Zakpalsi, Kornorkle, Uwasi, Atidzive-Ayiteykorfe and Aka Basin; making available 83 hectares of land for irrigation. 

In 2019, Government has  continued the development of Tamne Phase II, Mprumem and Piiyiri dams and rehabilitation of Guo, Kpong left and right banks, Tono, Ohawu, Weta and Ashaiman irrigation schemes which will make available a total of 9850 hectares.

Designs for rehabilitation of Sankana (UWR), Tanoso (BAR), Kpando-Torkor, (VR) Amate (ER), Libga and Golinga (NR) as well as 12 small dams under the One-Village-One-Dam programme are completed and construction will start in 2019.   In addition, designs for 180 dugouts are also completed for construction under the remit of the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives.

Feasibility studies for water transmission lines in Upper West and Northern Regions have started. Studies for culvert diversion weirs will be completed and construction of 20 weirs will take place in Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Volta Regions.  A 100ha land will also be put under irrigation through surface water abstraction with solar water pumps, whilst 200 boreholes mounted with solar water pumps will be drilled throughout the country to harness groundwater.

 

Rehabilitation and Expansion of Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Facility

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2018 cut sod for the rehabilitation and expansion works to begin on the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project, at Torgome, in the North Tongu of the Volta Region.

The Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP), in consultation with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), has selected for rehabilitation and modernization of the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP), together with four other major public irrigation schemes. This effort is aimed at increasing food production in the country.

The Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project comprises rehabilitating and expanding the existing gravity irrigation scheme from 450 hectares to 2,000hectares, i.e. more than four-fold. On successful completion, the facility will be available to 17 communities with some of the benefits to the neighbouring communities including increased earnings of smallholder farmers, through double-cropping under irrigated conditions, and the creation of jobs, in addition to the completion of various agri-businesses down the value-chain.

The irrigated area is expected to be cropped twice a year, resulting in a 200%cropping intensity, and a total cropped area of four thousand (4,000) hectares per annum,” he said.

Rehabilitation and Modernization of Tono Irrigation Project

The Government of Ghana having received a credit facility from the International Development Association (IDA) and grant from USAID acting through the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) has applied part of the funds to cover the eligible payments under the contract for the Rehabilitation and Modernization of Tono Irrigation Project in the upper East Region of Ghana.

Post Harvest Management – National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO)

To increase storage space for anticipated increased production from PFJ, the Ministry completed the rehabilitation of five warehouses at Yendi, Tamale, Wenchi, Sunyani and Kumasi. In addition, the Ministry together with the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives are constructing 80 new warehouses (with the capacity of 1,000mt each) in strategically selected districts across the country. In 2019, the Ministry will construct additional 30 new warehouses (1,000mt capacity). Each will be equipped with seed cleaners, dryers and weighing scales.

As part of measures to improve farmers access to markets, the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) was revived in 2017.  Through its over 1300 licensed buying companies, NAFCO in 2018 purchased 6,000mt of white maize, 1,730 mt of rice, 1,120mt of millet, 1,220 mt of groundnut and 1,230 mt of cowpea and supplied to schools under the Free Senior High School Programme.

In 2019, NAFCO intends to purchase 200,000mt of white maize and 100,000mt of rice to supply to Free Senior High School Programme, the Ghana School Feeding Program, other State Institutions, as well as holding some as emergency stocks.

A part from the Food crop module of Planting for Food and Jobs the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will roll out four other modules in 2019.  These are:

  • The Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD)
  • The Rearing for Food and Jobs
  • The Greenhouse Villages programme and
  • The Mechanization Programme

Planting For Export and Rural Development- PERD

Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) is aimed at diversifying the tree crop sector in addition to the dominant cocoa crop. Six tree crops have been selected in accordance with the manifesto pledge of the New Patriotic Parting (NPP) during the 2016 Campaign. These are coconut, cashew, coffee, rubber, mango, oil palm.  In 2019 it is expected that His Excellency the President will launch the PERD.  The programme is jointly implemented by the Ministries of Food and Agriculture and Local Government and Rural Development in 142 districts of the 10 Regions of Ghana. The Municipal and District Chief Executives in each District has been given targets of the selected crops depending on the agro ecological zone. The seedlings will be distributed free of charge to farmers.

Self-financing Authority for Tree Crops

Cabinet has approved the establishment of a self-financing Authority to regulate and develop selected tree and industrial crops in Ghana. The initially selected crops are: Cashew, rubber, oil palm and shea. This document will be submitted to Parliament for approval.

 

Rearing for Food and Jobs

The Government will in 2019 launch the livestock model of PFJ called “Rearing for Food and Jobs”. The objective of the programme is to increase the production of selected livestock. Poultry, cattle, sheep and piggery will particularly be promoted.

For poultry, the Ministry has constituted a stakeholder team to develop a sustainable soyabean production strategy to ensure availability of soyabean as raw material for processing facilities that are shut down and to provide feed for the poultry industry.  The Ministry through PPP arrangements will support the establishment of poultry processing plants in major poultry producing areas.

To address the persistent Fulani herdsmen and food crop farmers’ conflict and increase cattle production, the Government is establishing cattle ranches in selected locations.  A model ranche with a carrying capacity of 6000 animals has been established at Wawase in the Afram Plains.    

 

Green House Villages

Vegetable production and exports suffered some setback in 2015 when the European Union imposed a ban on selected vegetables to be exported to the European Market.  Through prudent measures implemented by a National Task Force established by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the ban was lifted in December 2017. This opened opportunities for increased production and export of vegetables.

The Ministry introduced the new concept of Greenhouse Villages in 2017.  The core component of the Greenhouse Village has been completed at Dawhenya  with both training and commercial production sections. The objective of the Greenhouse Villages is to establish strong agribusinesses to attract both Ghanaian youth and international investors and to place Ghana as a key competitor in the export of fresh vegetables and cut flowers.

Since 2017, 143 graduates have been trained, 51 of these are currently undergoing eleven months hands-on training in Israel to sharpen their skills and gain experience. They will be provided with necessary tools and funding to establish their own enterprises at the Greenhouse Villages upon their return to Ghana.

In 2019, two more Greenhouse villages will be constructed at Akumadan in Ashanti Region and Kasoa in Central Region.

Cocoa Sub-sector

World cocoa prices remain low after declining by about a third in the 2017/2018 season. Despite the significant decline, Government maintained the producer price at GH¢7,600.00 per tonne to ensure that farmers did not suffer loss of income and purchased 904,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2017/18 season. This season, Government maintained the producer price at GH¢ 7,600.00 per tonne and plans to purchase 900,000 tonnes.

We need to add value to our cocoa output. Ghana and our neighbour Cote D’Ivoire produce around 60 percent of the world’s cocoa. But we earn only $6 billion of the world cocoa value chain earnings of $125 billion—just about 5 percent.

Through the Ghana-Cote D’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, Government is working on several fronts to increase the value that we gain from our cocoa. They include: vigorously promoting both domestic and international cocoa consumption; and initiatives for market expansion for exports of cocoa products to Asia; and provision of incentives to the private sector to set up cocoa processing factories.

Other initiatives in the agricultural Sector Agricultural Financing

To help manage the risks in agriculture and stimulate private sector lending to the agricultural sector, Government is establishing the Ghana Incentive Base Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL). An amount of GHC 400 million with an additional funding of US$14.0 million from the AfDB has been set aside to operationalize GIRSAL in 2019. GIRSAL aims to provide guarantees to promote commercial bank lending to the agricultural sector.

 

Private Sector Investment initiatives

Several Industry and private sector businesses are consulting with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to invest in the agricultural sector. African Tiger Holdings Limited in partnership with a Mauritian group is investing in a sugar industry project in West Mamprusi in the Northern Region.

Dangote Ltd and Jain Irrigation Limited are exploring investment in sugar production and processing; Indo-Ghana Company Limited has acquired 4,000 hectares for rice at Aveyime, and under the Ghana-Iran Partnership processes have been initiated for the lease of 4,400 hectares at Dekpoe and 1,200 hectares Klukpo for rice.

To improve fertilizer utilization the Government has signed an MOU with OCP for the establishment of a fertilizer manufacturing plant in Ghana. A strategic plan is being designed currently to guide the process.

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