Partners’ interventions should align with government priorities

Last week, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at a Presidential Breakfast Meeting organised by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with development partners on the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ 2.0) programme in Accra, urged foreign governments and agencies to ensure that projects they design to support Ghana’s agricultural sector are aligned with the government's priorities.

The President’s call comes at a time when in spite of the productive collaboration between the government and its development partners, the misalignment of the priorities of some international development agencies with national policies and strategies has been a matter of concern.

Indeed, the role of development partners in national development, especially in a developing country such as Ghana, cannot be overemphasised.

For instance, every year, the budgetary support of these partners is significantly huge and scattered across the various sectors.

However, the issue of harmonising their activities to align with national projects at the various levels for the overall development and growth of those sectors needs to be seriously looked at.

This alignment is particularly important with the launch of the PFJ 2.0 programme, which looks more at zeroing in the private sector and projects such as what the developing partners are executing in parts of the country.

The projects are scattered in nine regions, with more concentration in the northern part of the country, where the focus has been on cereals, root crops, vegetables and poultry.

For instance, development partners are currently implementing over 100 agricultural projects across the country, with the Ashanti and the five regions in the north comparatively receiving a larger number of these projects, with a relatively smaller proportion in the Central, Volta and Oti regions.

That is why the President was concerned that any deviation in policy focus could amount to misdirected investments, thus, the importance of such a forum for stakeholders to identify the factors causing the disconnect and to take corrective measures.

President Akufo-Addo called for the need to address what he described as “the unwelcome situation” where government, through its agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has no full knowledge of some funds being used in the country by International Development Agencies (IDA).

The Daily Graphic believes that the call by the President is timely and crucial at a time when such funds could be misapplied or embezzled, yet the government would be held accountable.

According to the development partners, over 70 per cent of their projects are in training and capacity-building.

Technology transfer as in training and capacity-building is great, but can be an area of serious misapplication of funds as in many cases, that is where figures are cooked to represent the reality.

We do not doubt the sincerity and good intention of our development partners’ efforts at building local capacities in the various areas, but the allocation of funds must be for the intended purpose.

That is why we see the President’s call for discussions on funding mechanisms such as loans, grants and technical assessments of other agricultural support initiatives as an important one that must be treated with the seriousness it deserves.

It is another reason the development agencies should work collaboratively with research institutions, farmer organisations and private sector entities to achieve increased capacity-building, technology transfer and knowledge sharing.

The Daily Graphic is happy that the development partners in the agricultural sector are working with various institutions, government agencies and ministries.

Our development partners, who have sunk over $2 billion in projects in some parts of the country, particularly in the most deprived areas in the five regions in the north, must be commended.

It is our prayer that the efforts of these international bodies towards improving lives in the country will not be in vain

The outcomes of these investments should be tangible enough for these development partners to be willing to continue to invest in the projects that they are funding.

With regard to the 41 per cent of development partners’ projects which are set to conclude by 2024, we hope their outcomes would be overwhelming that they would be more than willing to take up new projects to run with.

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