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Ghana Trades and Livelihood Coalition launches agro-policy report

Accra, July 30, GNA – The Ghana Trades and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) has launched its 2016 Agro Policy Performance Barometer Report (APPB), giving indication that the policy environment is gradually becoming favourable to small scale farmers.

The report showed that within the crop sector there was gradual improvement due to increased provision of certified seeds, extension, land tenure and a favourable rainfall which led to increases in yield.

In all three GTLC Agrobarometer index (ABI) measures, which gives indication of crop sector performance within the agricultural sector for a particular year, showed an increase in performance in the crop sector after a fall in 2014.

The report titled: ‘The Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Ghana: Reorganising the Building Blocks,’ goes beyond data presentation to conduct analysis on how to access key inputs, enabling policies and institutions influence productivity and its sustainability.

The report relied on indicators provided in the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) 2011 and 2015 for comparison and assessment.

It focused on the indicators of the METASIP such as ensuring food security and emergency preparedness, increased growth in incomes as well as provision of extension services among others as the main basis for comparison and assessment of the performance of the agriculture sector as well as insurance.

The study, which was conducted in farming communities in six regions, solicited views from 660 tomato and rice farmers on areas such as mode of land preparation, access to subsidized fertilizer, use of certified seeds, access to credit facilities as well as access to improved storage facilities.

The report, among other findings, showed that almost all farmers accessed credit mainly from private persons and non-bank sources but patronised and used extension advice.

Most farmers also have access to subsidised fertilizers.

Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, Coordinator of the GTLC, who launched the report, said policy and incentives were needed to encourage favourable lending by financial institutions and more private sector input credit initiatives.

He said the introduction of the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending by the Bank of Ghana must be exploited by financial institutions to provide favourable lending to small scale producers and other agricultural value chain actors.

‘There is the need for the government and partners to support the small scale farmers to improve on their yields so as to enhance their income status,’ he said.

Mr Akalbila said the implementation of METASIP 1 and II had so far not found solution to sustainable productivity, adding that there must be differentiation between institutions that enable production and those that sustain it.

He said there should be adequate investment for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Research and Development institutions such as Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.

Mr Akalbila suggested to government to consider allocating and disbursing one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product to Research and Development to ensure that the transformation process is led by appropriate technology and innovation.