Promotion of market-oriented agriculture in Ghana
Title: Market-Oriented Agriculture Programme in Ghana (MOAP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Republic of Ghana
Overall term: 2004 to 2019
Ghana is considered one of Africa’s emerging countries. A middle class is forming in the cities and consumers are increasingly discerning. However, Ghana is still a predominantly agricultural country. Agriculture continues to be one of the most important sectors in the economy. Around half of all workers in Ghana are employed in agriculture. Approximately one third of the country’s export revenues are generated by agricultural products.
However, agricultural productivity is low, the quality of the produce poor, and the country’s potential in the production of internationally sought-after products, such as mango, pineapple or cashews, is not fully harnessed. The middle-class consumer’s demand for better quality is not being met either, which is why they frequently turn to imported goods.
80 per cent of Ghana’s agricultural products are currently produced by smallholder farmers. And these are the people who often lack the equipment, financing and marketing contacts. They use poor quality seed, use neither insecticides nor fertilisers, and cannot afford important investments. The result is that yields are low, plant diseases and pests can spread unimpeded and the yield is appreciably diminished. Poor storage and transport lead to further deterioration in the quality of the harvested crop. Recurring pest infestation in export products also led to a ban on the import of vegetables such as chilli peppers and aubergines from Ghana to the EU in 2015.
The quality of agricultural production in Ghana is improved.
The Market-Oriented Agriculture Programme in Ghana (MOAP) specialises in the promotion of the value chains for mango, pineapple, citrus fruits and vegetables, as well as rice, sorghum, soya beans, peanut and cashew. They have been funded in the regions of Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Volta, as well as in the Upper West and Northern Region since 2017, through EU cofinancing.
The project team advises political decision-makers and trains state agricultural advisors. This creates an environment conducive to value creation in agriculture. Measures to combat pest infestation are being taken, together with public authorities, and regular quality control should reduce the number of complaints about export goods as well as products sold within the country.
Farmers achieve higher yields and better product quality with training and advice on improved cultivation methods, insecticides or pruning. At the same time, they maintain the fertility of their soils. Certification based on the EU organic farming guidelines help them to sell their products both nationally and internationally and to achieve higher prices.
Post-harvest losses will be reduced by improving the infrastructure for storage, processing and transport. MOAP trains the staff of the responsible public authorities in the region on maintenance, and tries to promote private investments for the provision of agricultural infrastructure and services for farmers.
With support from the consulting firm AFC, the project also provides entrepreneurs with further training on implementing inclusive business models such as contract farming. This also benefits exporters and producers of fruit juices, dried fruits or spices. They receive the necessary ingredients in the required quality and quantity and farmers have a secure income and receive advisory services.
Since the project started, 30,000 jobs have been secured in agriculture and processing companies. Since 2016 alone, more than 12,000 farmers have been trained in good agricultural practice and around 2,000 have been certified according to internationally recognised sustainability standards. The prices paid to producers have increased by up to 50 per cent due to certification, contract farming and improved cultivation methods.
At policy-making level, the project has contributed towards establishing guidelines and processes for quality control of export products with Ghanaian partners. This meant that the EU ban on Ghanaian products such as chilli peppers and aubergines was lifted from January 2018. Mango processors and exporters report that the number of fruits affected by fruit flies has been halved, thanks to the various project measures.