Improve agric sector through value chain systems - Census

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Experts say more innovative mechanisms should be developed to boost employment opportunities in the agric sector.
Experts say more innovative mechanisms should be developed to boost employment opportunities in the agric sector.

The 2017/2018 Ghana Census of Agriculture (GCA) has identified the need to improve the agricultural value chain systems.

It said the growth of the sector crucially depends on the coordination of activities of the various actors along the chain of production to consumption.

Consequently, such a coordination will require both vertical and horizontal linkages of the various activities, which include, but not limited to producing, financing, transporting, storing, processing and marketing.

“The coordination will engender predictability leading to stable and higher investments and profits. To achieve this level of coordination, there is the need to: set up online and physical platforms for information exchange within and across the various levels and types of agricultural activities; Facilitate business mentoring linkages between smallholder and commercial producers; and Institutionalise marketing of agricultural produce to make planning and predicting of the prospects of agriculture more reliable,” it said.

It will require the development of market support services for selected horticulture, food and industrial crops to enhance production; and development of agriculture insurance and financial products, especially long-term instruments.

The Census

The 2017/18 Ghana Census of Agriculture (GCA), which is the fourth to be carried out in the country after 1950, 1970 and 1984/85, was a collaboration between the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Unlike the previous censuses, the current one under review was an electronic census that deployed tablets and the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) technique to collect nationwide information on households and institutions engaged in agricultural activities.

The data collection consisted of two broad phases. Phase one- the Listing Phase -entailed listing of all structures to identify all agricultural households and institutions. Phase two consisted of the administration of the core and community modules, and the collection of data on all agricultural households and institutions identified in Phase one.

Value chain

A value chain is a set of linked activities that work to add value to a product; it consists of actors and actions that improve a product while linking commodity producers to processors and markets.  

Value chains work best when their actors cooperate to produce higher-quality products and generate more income for all participants along the chain.

Agric and the economy

The importance of agriculture to the growth of Ghana’s economy and the sustenance and health of the population cannot be overemphasised.

Statistics by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS, 2020) show agriculture contributed more than one-fifth (21.2 per cent) of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017 and is the largest employer of the workforce, 36.1 per cent (GSS, 2016).

Yet, given the annual population growth rate of 2.5 per cent, agricultural production does not grow correspondingly to meet the increasing demand for food, feed, fuel and fibres.