Report commends AGRA for its role in improving Ghana’s agricultural sector
President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Dr. Agnes Kalibata
A report assessing the work of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Ghana praised the organization for its contribution to improving agriculture in the country.
the report from the American data science society Mathematica, assessed the impact of AGRA’s Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) initiative. He concluded that the public policy environment for agricultural development has been improved through the work of AGRA. He added that there have been improvements in the availability of agricultural extension services for farmers and better access to inputs through the work of AGRA.
The report observed improvements in the cassava, rice and maize value chains in Ghana as a result of AGRA’s work in building consortia around these crops. AGRA’s consortia model was designed to bring together diverse stakeholders, including farmers, governments and private sector actors, to form cassava, rice and maize consortia that work to improve their respective value chains.
According to the report, the cassava consortium has attracted many players, including Josma Company, which processes cassava. Previously, the company processed 1 ton of cassava per month. It now handles 4 tons. In total, market players for cassava consortium products now work with 30,000 farmers, up from 1,000 before the cassava consortium was established. Moreover, thanks to the work of the consortium, the number of cassava factories managed by consortium members increased from 6 in 2018 to 23, and the area planted with cassava increased from 1,614 to 30,611 acres.
The rice consortium has also had some success with partners increasing the number of mills and aggregators under their belts. “As for rice, the number of rice mills increased from 12 to 27, the number of aggregators increased from 31 to 110, and the reach of farmers increased by 97%. Two seed companies, Sparkx and Volta City Farms, have increased their seed production by 44% in 2 years… The number of (rice) aggregators that bring produce from farmers to processors has increased by 67%,” he said. -he adds. The study further noted that both public and private authorities seem to take ownership of the vital coordination function of consortia in Ghana. “The success of Yedent and Advans in Ghana and Luteari in Mozambique can provide insight into how to structure business-led consortia in the future,” he said.
Improved extension services and increased yields
Researchers have reported notable improvements in the provision of extension services and farmers’ access to markets as a result of AGRA’s work in Ghana. “AGRA-targeted farmers in Ghana have reported higher rates of engagement with extension workers over the past year, although it should be noted that overall rates of access to extension are remained relatively weak in the country. These farmers also consistently reported that the distance to the nearest agricultural dealer had decreased,” the report said.
Policy reforms for accelerated transformation
AGRA has been successful in accelerating policy reforms and increasing stakeholder participation in policy making. The study indicates that through direct support from AGRA and the provision of technical resources to the government, a number of agricultural policy reforms have been initiated in the country relating to market access for seeds, fertilizers and products. AGRA provided financial and technical support, as well as encouraged and engaged non-state actors to participate in the policy-making process. The report observed that reforms in Ghana focused on modernizing and streamlining policies on subsidies, input markets, product markets and trade policy are yielding results. The report further notes that micro-policy reforms supported by AGRA have the potential to stimulate private sector investment.
Improved farmer access to inputs and finance
By investing in agro-dealers and seed companies, AGRA has improved farmers’ access to quality inputs. AGRA subsidizes agricultural training and business development services for seed companies and agro-dealers, as well as networking between input suppliers, village agents (VBAs) and farmers. Stakeholders interviewed by the researchers praised AGRA for investing more than $3.4 million in Ghana’s extension networks from 2017 to 2021 and for using various other channels to provide financial support to farmers. “In Tanzania and Ghana, AGRA has also helped farmers linked to consortia to access loans and provide finance to SMEs through revolving funds and blended finance,” observes the report.
AGRA hailed as influential institution
Government of Ghana stakeholders who spoke to Mathematica researchers described AGRA’s support as high quality and credible, citing that the organization is well known, well connected and able to leverage relationships with the government to support political reform. AGRA was also commended for helping to design and monitor the implementation of the country’s flagship agricultural program, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative. In addition, AGRA was found to have contributed to increasing the role of civil society in advocacy and policy development, although deeper engagement is possible.
AGRA grantees and non-grantee partners have praised the organization for its role in improving the policy environment in the country. AGRA was further praised for maintaining a strong focus on women and youth in its partnership work. Overall, stakeholders surveyed felt that AGRA has been successful in leveraging private sector investment, rating AGRA a low to moderate contribution to an overall positive trend in private investment in agriculture. over the past five years.
According to most interviewees, AGRA has the right solutions for seed sector challenges and that the organization is doing well in providing improved seeds to farmers. Both private and public actors have praised AGRA’s investment in the private marketing of Certified seed, which gives private actors healthy incentives to grow without encouraging dependency. The report notes that AGRA has been instrumental in ensuring that seed companies have the right training to better support farmers. Support for seed companies – including through the purchase of equipment and the development of critical infrastructure – has been particularly recognized for accelerating grower reach.
As part of its recommendations, the study prescribed a diversification of AGRA’s investments in the seed sector from a specific set of cereals – notably maize and rice – to pulses, tubers, fruits and other high Nutritional value.