ACET, Oct. 14 – A preliminary ACET report shared this week with agricultural experts showed that efforts to improve market conditions for smallholder farmers in Ghana are not working effectively and joint action across government and industry is needed to overcome systemic challenges.
Smallholder Voices in Policy Discourse Market Linkages Study–Ghana Report is part of a larger, ongoing project on smallholder farmers, which also includes Kenya, that ACET is undertaking in partnership with the Open Society Foundations (OSF). It was conducted in eight regions of the country in July and August 2019.
George Boateng, Engagement Manager at ACET, presented the research findings and recommendations at a virtual validation workshop held Oct. 13, after which a panel of expert discussants shared their perspectives and ideas for fine-tuning the report before ahead of being finalized.
Key stakeholders in Ghana’s agricultural industry attended the event, including smallholder farmers, other researchers, and the chief directors of both the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. They commended report for articulating a broad array of challenges that smallholder farmers face in Ghana, including high transaction costs, rapid urbanization, and shifting market dynamics.
“The advent of supermarkets and formal markets has raised concerns about the exclusion of smallholders from these supply channels,” Boateng said during his presentation. “Street foods, which have traditionally linked smallholders to urban markets, are upgrading and starting to cut-off smallholders.”
The workshop enabled participants to offer critical feedback on recommendations for the final report, including the need for all stakeholders to take a more coordinated approach in ensuring smallholder challenges in Ghana are fully understood and addressed.
Dr. Ed Brown, Senior Director, Research and Policy Engagement, said ACET will continue to work through the Smallholder Voices portal, which launched earlier this year, to ensure that the voices of smallholder farmers and other stakeholders influence policy.
“I want to thank ACET for this work and acknowledge that it is a very relevant study and very useful in the current discourse in agricultural development,” said Madam Angela Mercy Dannson, Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Charles Nyaaba, Head of Programs and Advocacy for the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, echoed that endorsement, noting that the report’s findings were aligned with the experiences of members of his organization.
ACET expects to release the final report in the coming months. Another workshop to review findings of similar research in Kenya, as part of the same collaboration with OSF, is scheduled for late October.