Ghana Will Get Support In Scaling Up Agricultural Innovations

On May 18, 2012, the G8 Summit at Camp David adopted the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a shared commitment and partnership between African leaders, donors, and private sector partners to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.It supports the accelerated implementation of existing frameworks including the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) from which Ghana developed the METASIP.In support of New Alliance goals, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) developed and awarded the “Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership (SSTP)”  to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The partnership will be implemented in several New Alliance countries, including Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal and Malawi.  AGRA is partnering the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to provide data and analytical support for the establishment of a national technology platform to ensure the availability of appropriate agricultural technologies throughout the country.  The platform will develop a roadmap that will guide SSTP investments in the area of food security and nutrition.Last year in July, USAID and AGRA announced SSTP in Africa, a US$47million, three-year partnership intended to accelerate smallholder farmer access to transformative agricultural technologies. The Partnership aims to increase production of quality seeds by 45 percent in three years and ensure 40 percent more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies.In order to achieve the above objectives that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in conjunction with USAID, AGRA, and IFPRI organised a two-day stakeholder consultation workshop that ends today.Opening the workshop yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, noted that over the years improved seeds and other technologies have been introduced to Ghanaian farmers by national research efforts complemented by international research programmes.However, he added that the rise in yields associated with the introduction of new seeds has proven to be short-lived, and national average yields have remained substantially below potential yield levels. Several reasons have been ascribed to this persistent yield-gap, among which are inadequate supply of certified seeds, farmers not applying recommended levels of fertiliser and other agronomic practices, and markets to handle the increased production are not well-developed.Dr. Ahmed Alhassan also said the focus on research has resulted in some great technologies but researchers are not equipped and resourced to spread their benefits. He therefore advocated the building of machinery to take such technologies to scale (mass implementation) through coordinated efforts among donors in the agricultural sector to guarantee consistency in delivering technologies to smallholder farmers.This is very important since the long-term beneficiaries are the smallholder farmers! Thus, this Paper attaches importance to the Ghana meeting which is the sixth of national stakeholder consultation dialogues on scaling up farmers’ access to agricultural innovation.It is also in line with national agricultural objectives of modernising agriculture for improved yields and food security requirements. Agricultural growth is directly linked to poverty reduction, and no effort should be spared in this regard.

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