The Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) program is a five-year 135 million Canadian dollars (CAD$) initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada, started in 2017 and has been extended by two years to 2023. Over the period, the programme has provided budgetary support and technical assistance to the Government of Ghana to improve the production and productivity of farmers by supporting the implementation of a comprehensive market-oriented approach to farming. This entails strengthening and modernizing agricultural extension service delivery at the national, regional and district levels and complemented by demand-driven research.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is the implementing institution supported by relevant stakeholders such as Ministry of Local Government Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD), Ministry of Finance (MoF), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
In line with Ghana’s decentralized governance structures, the program has five main components and funds agricultural activities at District, Regional and National levels. Specifically;
- Component 1: Support to increase the efficiency of local farmers through value chain development through the 261 District Departments of Agriculture
- Component 2: Support to specialized agricultural services to build national market linkages and promote efficiencies in commodity development along value chains through the 16 Regional Departments of Agriculture
- Component 3: Support to agricultural research to strengthen agricultural extension services and improve agricultural productivity through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It also entails a collaboration between the five agricultural colleges in Ghana and the Universities of Missouri and Saskatchewan to improve agricultural facilities, education, and skills development.
- Component 4: Developing the enabling environment to improve agricultural productivity and competitiveness by funding the activities of national technical and line directorates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) as well as some activities of the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD).
- Component 5: Canada-managed Monitoring, Evaluation, Audit and Technical Advisory Services.
Since 2017, the MAG programme has procured 266 Double Cabin Pick-Up vehicles for 260 MMDAs, 16 4X4 Station Wagon vehicles for the 16 Regional Departments of Agriculture, 3,196 motorbikes to all AEAs, 2,305 Field Uniforms, 2,107 Wellington Boots, etc. The number of farmers visited by agricultural extension officers increased from 2.8 million in 2017 to 3.7 million in 2020. At the end of 2020, the MAG programme contributed to production increases through extension and demonstrations as well as home and farm visits having maize production increased by 5%, rice increased by 5%, cassava increased by 7% and sorghum increased by 8%.
At the Agricultural Colleges, through the Technical Education Development for Modernized Agriculture in Ghana (TEDMAG) component, rehabilitation of the science and ICT laboratories of the five Agricultural colleges have been completed, and retooling of the laboratories is underway as well as refurbishment of mechanization center and demonstration sites to support the practical teaching of students. The five colleges namely Damango, Ejura, Pong-Tamale, Kwadaso and Ohawu have been provided with a 30 seater bus each to enhance movement of students to industrial learning centers.
Again, curriculum for Agriculture Colleges has been revised to introduce agri-business venture and entrepreneurial courses, as well as the establishment of student-managed farms and student business competitions to expose the students to industry practices and equip them to become self-employed after graduation. Some of these students have developed bankable business plans and pitching their ideas for funding consideration from the private sector. Agricultural extension officers have been trained in market-oriented extension approaches, including training on new extension model, Post-harvest losses, and FBO development along the value chains. Furthermore, 51 women FBOs across the country have benefited from equipment support to enhance the processing of various agricultural commodities.