The project provides direct funding to the Government of Ghana to improve food security and make the agriculture sector more modern, equitable and sustainable. The project seeks to implement a comprehensive market-oriented approach to farming and to strengthen and modernize agricultural extension services. The project covers the entire country at the national, regional and district levels and is expected to benefit 2.8 million farm households, including many female farmers. Project activities include: (1) delivering agricultural extension services and market-oriented training to farm households, with a particular focus on providing information linked to improved cultural practices and the appropriate use of fertilizers, pesticides, tools and machinery; (2) equipping District Agricultural Departments and Regional Agricultural Departments with extension materials, equipment and logistical support; (3) supporting innovative, demand-driven and market-oriented research to address current challenges being faced by smallholder farmers; (4) updating and reorienting a standardized curriculum for agricultural colleges and farm institutes to be more market-focused, gender-sensitive and climate-smart; and (5) improving the enabling (administrative and legal) environment to facilitate access to local and foreign markets for agricultural production.
The expected outcomes for this project include: (1) increased adoption of relevant, productivity-enhancing technologies, which would result in yield increases in maize and rice, and a reduction of post-harvest losses; (2) increased adoption of market-oriented approaches to farm management, which would result in increased volume of produce marketed and agribusiness agreements signed; and (3) increased private sector investments in sustainable agricultural input supply, production, marketing and processing, which would result in increased number of farmers accessing input suppliers, loans, and equity investment to grow their businesses.
Results achieved as of December 2018 include: (1) the productivity of most major crops improved by an average of 7.1% from 2017 to 2018; (2) more women entrepreneurs are now implementing income-generating activities, such as pastry baking, palm and shea nut oil production, snail rearing and cassava processing; (3) 2,517,126 farmers (compared to 1,424,723 farmers in 2017), representing approximately 50% of the farmer population in Ghana, improved their knowledge of the various elements of the value-chain, from pre-planting to agro-processing, packaging and marketing using extension tools such as farm visits, demonstration sites, field tours and group training. The number of women reached increased by 77.82%, from 556,421 women in 2017 to 989,426 women in 2018; (4) 95% of the farmers surveyed indicated adopting improved varieties of crops; and (5) a new market-oriented, gender-sensitive and climate-smart training curriculum was introduced in five agricultural colleges to train potential future agriculture extension agents as well as future entrepreneurs. These results led to the proportion of stunting children under the age of 5 to decrease from 13.4% in 2016 to 13% in 2018, and to 70% of surveyed farmers reporting improved income, which enabled them to pay school fees, put up shelters, buy vehicles and livestock, expand farm operations, establish shops, and improve their general well-being.