Align Agric support with govt priorities - Akufo - Addo tells foreign governments, agencies
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday urged foreign governments and agencies to ensure that projects they design to support Ghana’s agricultural sector naturally align with the government's priorities.
He explained that in spite of the productive collaboration between the government and its development partners, the misalignment of priorities of some international development agencies and national policies and strategies was a matter of concern.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he addressed 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.
The breakfast meeting which attracted international partners such as the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the US Agency for International Development, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the World Food Programme (WFP), GAC, KfW, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Union, was to enable the MoFA and the development partners to discuss ways of fostering a more effortless partnership to enhance the effective promotion of the agricultural sector, especially the PFJ 2.0.
There were two rounds of panel discussions under the broad topics: “Enhancing coordination of development partners’ intervention under PFJ 2.0” and “Financing agriculture: The role of development partners”.
President Akufo-Addo said any deviation in policy focus could amount to misdirected investments, saying the forum provided an opportunity for stakeholders to identify the factors causing the disconnect and to take corrective measures.
“Furthermore, we should also address 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),” he added.
He called for discussions on funding mechanisms such as loans, grants and technical assessments of other agricultural support initiatives.
The President said in that mobilisation effort, development agencies should work collaboratively with research institutions, farmer organisations and private sector entities to achieve increased capacity-building, technology transfer and knowledge sharing.
President Akufo-Addo advised that emphasis should also be placed on monitoring and evaluation in the collaboration between the government and its foreign partners.
“Our development efforts will have a more significant impact if efforts in monitoring and evaluation receive support from our friends and partners,” he added.
That support, President Akufo-Addo said, was crucial for assuring the accuracy of data collection and analysis, thereby helping to address identified weaknesses that could affect the design, planning and implementation of project plan outcomes.
He said robust monitoring and evaluation systems would ensure accountability and facilitate evidence-based decision-making.
“The second phase of the PFJ will raise awareness about the potential of Ghana's agriculture and draw in the necessary investment, facilitated by your invaluable support, so that we can achieve food security and economic growth in Ghana,” the President emphasised.
On the part of government, he gave an assurance that it would create a conducive environment and was committed to meeting the expectations through regulatory measures and incentives.
He expressed confidence that the second phase of the PFJ, with its focus on an input credit system that accommodated all value chain participants, would continue the progressive transformation of Ghana's agricultural landscape.
With strong emphasis on commercial agriculture, and a cascading effect on all stakeholders, from production to processing, distribution and marketing, President Akufo-Addo said: “This comprehensive approach will stimulate economic activities within the sector, generate employment, support industrialisation, boost exports, increase incomes, foster rural development and propel overall economic growth”.
The PFJ 2.0 is anticipated to enhance food security and establish a strong comparative advantage in the production of diverse cash and food crops and poultry products by the end of the five-year implementation period.
The President said the new approach would also “leverage competitively the opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)”.
Briefing the development partners about the PFJ 2.0, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong, said the programme was a transformative initiative that aimed to consolidate and build on earlier efforts under the initial PFJ which sought to address specific challenges identified within the sector after an extensive review process.
“Specifically, the programme is designed to ensure food availability, reduce food inflation, promote import substitution, promote exports, create jobs and ensure food security and resilience.
“It is a five-year programme with three phases — short, medium, and long terms — with a pilot or an immediate phase starting from September to December 2023.
Clearly contained in the strategy document are production targets to be achieved in each of the phases, ultimately reaching national food self-sufficiency by the end of the programme in 2028,” he added.
Supportive development partners
Dr Acheampong said the development partners had been unflinching in their support for Ghana’s agriculture, adding that they provided significant funding through loans, grants and technical expertise for the development of the sector.
“I am confident we can continue to count on their support for the successful implementation of PFJ 2.0.
This meeting provides another opportunity to initiate discussions on how to strengthen and deepen our collaboration and partnership in our collective efforts to build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient food system evident in food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, job creation, increased value addition, exports and overall economic growth,” the minister said.