Agricultural growth requires supportive policies – Minister
Mr Ahwoi said what is needed to achieve a green revolution was to have a comprehensive support to rebuild local policy institutions, support based-policy, engaged agricultural parliamentary committees to interact with policy analyst and to promote policy advocacy platforms that can transform policies into action.
He said this at the launch of Ghana Policy Hub and nodes organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in partnership with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in Accra.
Mr Ahwoi said the newly established policies were first of its kind in Africa aimed at developing progressive national agricultural policies to raise productivity, increase household incomes and assure household and food security.
He said the Ghana Policy Action node is s group of existing policy institutions that have technical expertise and commit to work to address policy of bottlenecks in policy priority areas.
Mr explained that each node would have a coordinator to coordinate the activities of the node and that the policy hubs are a loose network of Policy Action Nodes.
He also said each hub would have a coordinator to liaise with all the constituent nodes to ensure harmonization of policy messages for consistency and clarity.
Mr Ahwoi said the objectives of the Ghana policy nodes and hub include: improving seed policies to increase crop varieties, improve soil health technologies, expand national and regional markets and trade for staple food crops and securing land and property rights to accelerate investment in sustainable soil, land and water management.
He said a number of policies and programs have been formulated for the growth of the agricultural sector since the early 1990s which included the Medium Term Agricultural Development Programme and the Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Development Strategy.
Mr Ahwoi noted that subsequent policies and policy instruments in the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP) and related documents sought to promote agricultural modernization through storage, processing, input supply, marketing and the research and development of agricultural credit.
He said with technical and financial support from AGRA, the MOFA engaged with senior policy makers, national, regional and international research centres to form policy action nodes along seeds, soil health, markets and environment and climate change policy thrusts.
Dr Akin Adesina, Vice President of AGRA, said AGRA is an Africa based organization working in partnership with governments, agricultural research institutions, farmers, private sector, civil society and rural development stakeholders to improve the productivity and incomes of resource poor farmers in Africa.
He said AGRA works in 12 African countries which are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria Uganda and Zambia.
Dr Adesina said majority of farmers do not have access to functioning systems, affordable credit, stable prices and as a result less than 5 per cent of farmers in Ghana use improved varieties of maize and fertilizer use average of 8 kilograms per hector.
He acknowledged that the green revolution must also be driven by financial revolution for agriculture and decisive action by governments to address climate change.
Dr Adesina noted that AGRA has spearheaded several initiatives with other financial institutions to provide loans to millions of farmers in Africa.