SEND-Ghana, a civil society organisation, has begun a national stakeholders’ dialogue on donor inflows to Ghana’s agricultural sector to curb problems relating to the impact of donor investment. Policy makers and implementers, researchers, civil society groups, and development partners thought through research findings of donor assistance over the years to support food security and solve problems confronting smallholder, women, and rural farmers.
Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND-Ghana said government needs to give priority to the agricultural sector, given its huge important roles in the economy as major source of livelihoods to many people, especial the rural poor.
What the sector required, he noted, is not just provision of capital in agricultural budget but qualitative investment that aims at getting the nation to focus on activities of small scale farmers and food production.
Smallholder and women farmers, in particular, should be given access to improved seeds and quality extension services to boost their output and guarantee food security, he added.
Mr Kamara expressed worry that often times, huge part of agriculture budget are sunk into cocoa and export schemes at the neglect of food production to sustain the national economy.
“Holding government accountable for agriculture budget is very important that agriculture becomes important component or priority of government expenditure,” he said.
The Country Director for Oxfam Ghana, Mr Sebastian Tia, noted that five per cent of citizens are food insecure, describing the development as unacceptable.
He asked for stakeholders support to build momentum on influencing private-public sector investment in agricultural and expand fertilizer subsidy to many smallholder farmers.
An independent consultant, Mr Evans Gyampoh, presented a draft report on the analysis of the World Bank and the USAID agriculture aid to Ghana from 2011 to 2014.
He said the report showed heavy concentration of multilateral and bilateral support in the poorest regions of Ghana, but there may not to be any significant impact on poverty reduction and improvement in the quality of lives of the beneficiary communities in these regions.
He enumerated major needs of smallholder farmers such as unavailability or insufficient credit facilities, access to credit itself, poor adoption of agronomic practices and ineffective extension services.
There is also poor aid co-ordination in the agriculture sector, he said, because there is confusion over which document to use.
SEND Ghana is a subsidiary of SEND Foundation of West Africa,