A report put together by SEND-Ghana and its allies has revealed that Ghana government’s commitment to boost food production remains an illusion for which reason much is desired.
The comprehensive report dubbed, “Closing funding gaps in agriculture: implications for food security in rural Ghana” was officially launched in Tamale.
In line with the organization’s Food Security through Cooperatives in Northern Ghana (FOSTERING) project, the report highlighted three thematic areas comprising food security, rural agriculture and agriculture finance.
The spotlight is on some selected eight districts in the Northern Region where food insecurity is prevalent.
The report decried government’s inadequate funding for the agriculture sector as compared to other priority areas such as education and health.
The report revealed that food security advocacy in Ghana is largely donor funded.
It exposed district assembly authorities’ lackadaisical approach to investing in the agriculture sector.
According to the report, most district assembly authorities especially in the Northern Region have continually diverted funds meant for the agriculture sector into constructing feeder roads, organizing farmers’ day celebrations and other related expenditures.
It emerged that district assemblies’ farmer support services and capacity building are very low and gender bias in some circumstances.
It further damned district assemblies and agric departments’ exclusion of smallholder farmers and farmer based organizations from decision making on agric policies.
The report recommended that all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies should desist from diverting budgetary allocations for the agriculture sector.
It impressed upon Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives from the eight beneficiary districts of SEND-Ghana’s FOSTERING project to admit their guilt on paying lip service to the agriculture sector and change position.
The report also admonished the MMDCEs to include agriculture in the mandatory sectors of the assemblies’ transformational agenda.
It identified agriculture decentralization as a key component in promoting food security.
It charged duty bearers to place premium on civil society organizations serving as a voice to the voiceless in the food value chain.
The report encouraged smallholder farmers to shift from subsistence to agribusiness practices.
Participants at the launch lauded the report and called for its adoption as means of face lifting the agriculture sector.
MMDCEs from the eight beneficiary districts of SEND-Ghana’s FOSTERING project pledged their commitment to liaise with the district Directors of agriculture to modernize the sector.
Genesis of SEND-Ghana’s presence in the Northern Region
SEND-Ghana was established in 1998 in the eastern corridor of the Northern Region with the ultimate goal of combating illiteracy, desertification, food insecurity and to ensure small holder farmers’ access to sustainable credit.
The organization in partnership with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Credit Union Association (CUA) is operating in eight districts within the eastern corridor of the Northern Region.
The Food Security through Cooperatives in Northern Ghana (FOSTERING) project was implemented to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers and farmer based organizations.
The project focused on improving food security and sustainable economic growth for small-holder farmers, improving production, better marketing of products, expansion of household activities into off-season businesses and access to finance.
As a social intervention, the Gender Model Family (GMF) component of the project has succeeded in discarding socio-cultural barriers inhibiting women progress in the food value chain.
The FOSTERING project can boast of 130 demonstration fields under with SEND-Ghana’s operational zones.
East Gonja, Kpandai, Nanumba South, Nanumba North, Krachi-Nchumuru, Zabzugu, Tatale-Sangule and Chereponi are the beneficiary districts.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana