The Agency for Health And Food Security (AHEFS) is calling on the government for a coordinated agriculture value chain policy for vegetable sub-sectors to help vegetable farmers.
The non-governmental organization through extensive research with funding from the BUSAC Fund and its Development Partners DANIDA and USAID has identified that the major problem facing vegetable farmers has to do with the value chain.
According to a research report, there has been a commitment by the government over the years to improve and stabilize crop yield and prices in Ghana in order to alleviate poverty and increase food and nutrition security.
However, the policies have generally not been specific enough to address the peculiar challenges associated with vegetables and hence the need for the various agricultural policy interventions they are pushing for.
AHEFS is of the view that Ghana’s vegetable sector is constrained by weak value chain linkages due to uncoordinated value chain actors (producers, sellers, suppliers, researchers, certifications, and users) as well as a support mechanism.
This they believe leads to the negative effects which include limited opportunities for producers, sellers, investors in the private sector with the government unable to increase revenue nor expand jobs.
At a national dialogue on the theme ‘Strengthening Agricultural Value Chain Economics For Sustainable Development (SAVES); A Focus On Vegetables’ on Thursday, June 11, 2020, several stakeholders deliberated on the way forward with representatives from government, vegetable farmers, other areas giving inputs.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the dialogue, Mr. Kwaku Asante who is the Executive Director for the Agency for Health and Food Security shared: “We have realized that most of our farmers have various problems. What we have deduced from this research is that there are some regulations needed in agriculture which is not there at the moment.
“When you look at countries like Thailand, China where there are specific provisions to help farmers, it is not the same when you come to Ghana”.
He further noted that AHEFS wants a situation where vegetable farmers will know the market destination of their produce even before they plant their seed.
“With this value chain research, we are expecting our politicians to make reference whenever they mount podiums to campaign and indicate what they plan to do about farming especially with vegetable cultivation.
“We also want our parliamentarians to put in place plans to ensure farmers will get access to money to enhance the activities of farmers.
“There must be proper plans to support processes in the value chain for farmers to have faith in what they cultivate because they will know something good will come out of it at the end of the day”, Mr. Kwaku Asante added.
On his part, the Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampah has urged farmers to take advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to modernize their farming.
In addition, he charged farmers to enhance existing ways of doing things while adopting new ones with a conscious plan to go through all processes.
Check out some of the recommendations made by AHEFS after their in-depth research below:
• Agricultural policies should be designed for specific crops. For example, there should be a vegetable industry policy.
• Project implementing partners should be properly trained and other responsibilities clearly defined to prevent role conflict and ensure proper coordination of various activities
• In the future, stakeholder consultations prior to agricultural value chain policy designs should include an interdisciplinary mix of experts from universities and other research institutions as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and private sector actors.