Strengthening Agric sector amidst climate change: Contribution of ESRF project

Since the global pandemic, COVID-19 struck in 2019, the issue of food security globally has been a major concern.

Coupled with the devastating effect of climate change on food production, a number of measures have been adopted at various country level to contain the situation.

It was in the light of this that the Emergency Support to Rural Livelihoods & Food Systems Exposed to COVID-19 (ESRF) project was introduced by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on smallholder farmers and food systems in 2019.

Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), this initiative aims to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable populations and maintain food security in the country.

Project goals:

The overall goal of the ESRF project is to protect the livelihoods, incomes, and resilience of target groups from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Through its three main components and various sub-components, the project aims to protect against hunger, build resilient livelihoods, and strengthen rural marketing linkages and food security in the country.


Financing and partnerships:

The total funding for the project is $40.1 million. The breakdown of the amount includes an IFAD loan of $20.0 million, an estimated co-financing from the Government of Ghana (through exemptions on taxes and duties) amounting to $5.3 million, representing 12.6 per cent of the total cost.

Additionally, there is a beneficiary contribution of $11.2 million, which represents 27 per cent of the total cost, and contributions from other development partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Government of Canada (GoC), among others.

Key interventions

The ESRF project demonstrates the commitment of the government and its partners to safeguard vulnerable populations and maintain food security amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Over the past three years, the ESRF project has made significant strides in addressing the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and food systems in the country.

As the project draws its curtains down in August this year, four years since it was introduced, a number of smallholder farmers and families have been impacted positively.

For instance, the project has provided personal protective equipment (PPEs) to various departments and facilities, as well as sensitization campaigns and billboards to raise awareness about COVID-19 prevention measures.

In all, a total of 26,700 agric supply chain actors in 61 districts have been supported with PPEs and sensitization, while about 24,782 smallholder farmers across 14 regions have received agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and improved seeds for rice, maize, soya, and vegetables.

This has helped maintain and increase their production, food security, and climate change resilience.

Cash transfers have been provided to about 4,790 vulnerable beneficiaries, including 19 per cent females and five per cent persons with disabilities, to overcome hunger and prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Current project intervention

 Poultry intervention aims to improve the livelihoods and nutrition security of targeted households by supporting smallholder farmers with production packs, training, and best broiler management practices across 11 districts in the Ashanti, Bono, Greater Accra, and Volta regions.

Digital extension support is promoting digital extension services through private and public extension agents, focusing on crop production practices, food conservation/preservation, and animal production practices.

Smallholder processing groups, particularly women and youth groups, are being supported with livelihood equipment and training to enhance their capacity in the conservation, preservation, and processing of food.

The project is constructing water harvesting schemes, commodity drying platforms, and boreholes in selected districts to promote environmentally friendly practices, conserve water resources, and optimize post-harvest processes for higher-quality rice production.

These interventions demonstrate the ESRF project's commitment to addressing the challenges faced by rural livelihoods and food systems in Ghana, fostering resilience, and ensuring food security amidst the ongoing pandemic and climate change.

Working in synergy

Before the assumption of office by Dr. Bryan Acheampong as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, many projects in the agriculture sector were running in an uncoordinated manner. It took the efforts of the minister to ensure the agricultural sector thrived.

To achieve this, it was crucial to coordinate and harmonize projects within the sector to work together towards a common objective.

In addressing this phenomenon Dr. Bryan needed the sector to bounce back strongly and so, he consequently carried out an assessment of ongoing projects, to help in understanding the status and areas that needed improvement.

The outcome guided the steps that were taken to ensure that projects under the sector including the ESRF were aligned with the overall objectives of the agricultural sector to be executed through the Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II (PFJ 2.0).

At the end of the day, the necessary adjustments were made to ensure that the projects worked in synergy and contributed to a common objective.

Source: MoFA PR Unit

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