The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) will debut a new tool on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 to give all actors in Africa’s agricultural value chain a greater opportunity to join in—and influence—national policy dialogues.

The Smallholder Voices Portal, created in collaboration with support from the Open Society Foundations, is an online platform aimed at “igniting conversation between policymakers and smallholder farmers and other marginalized voices,” according to ACET Director and Senior Advisor Rob Floyd.

“There is immense value in having the voices of smallholder farmers reflected in agricultural policy,” said Dr. Edward K. Brown, ACET Senior Director of Research and Policy Engagement. “We hope this portal will spur the kind of conversations needed to make sure that happens.”

The portal will officially launch in conjunction with a webinar exploring the critical role of smallholders in African economies and the ways in which their voices can be amplified in the policy process. Panelists will share their own experiences and offer insights as to how smallholder voices can be amplified in the policy process.

Floyd will moderate the panel, which will include Prof. Ramatu Mahama Al-Hassan, Agricultural Development Economist and former Lecturer at the University of Ghana; Kwesi Abaka-Quansah, Assistant Director, Directorate of Extension Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana; and Dr. Adiel Mbabu, former Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, International Potato Center.

Other participants include Benjamin Kojo Fiafor, Country Director, Ghana and Nigeria, Farm Radio International; Anthony Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness; and Michael Nyarko Ampem, President, Greater Accra Poultry Framers Association.

The webinar is scheduled for 2pm to 3.30pm GMT on Wednesday. Participants can register via this link

The Smallholder Voices Portal is the culmination of an ACET initiative carried out under Global Scan, a component of the “Smallholder Voices in Policy Dialogue” project sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, which seeks to impact policy for a more inclusive and transformational agriculture sector.

The Global Scan component identified successful and innovative efforts to foster market development and strengthen linkages between policy design and smallholder interests in areas such as employment, skills development and youth leadership, land tenure, and agro-processing.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) estimates there are around 33 million smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa, representing 80% of all farms in the region, and contributing up to 90 percent of food production in some sub-Saharan African countries. It is therefore key that the voices of these smallholder farmers are represented in policy making.

The online portal will provide a virtual platform for capturing high-impact policies and approaches that can then be used to foster greater national policy dialogue between government officials and smallholder representatives.

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