GSSP's activities have been organized around five themes. These topics have been designed on the basis of previous research work, the demands of the GoG, as well as alignment with USAID Ghana’s priorities. The proposed focus of each topic is to undertake research which will lead to more effective and better designed public investments in agriculture, by both government and development partners – the “how to” of agriculture transformation. The six topics are: (i) development interventions; (ii) sources of growth, (iii) institutions and governance, (iv) nutrition and health, and (v) capacity development. Each topic is described below.
(1) The activities under the development interventions theme will examine the effectiveness of key approaches that are currently employed in the sector. Value chain development (VCD), for example, has emerged as a promising approach to improving the competitiveness of crops. The approach, however, involves a wide range and combination of interventions, which makes ex ante assessments of its effectiveness quite difficult. Through case studies of interventions in various crop sectors, beginning with the FTF priority crops, the program will conceptualize VCD and identify the paths through which typical interventions affect changes in the value chain to enable better prioritization of interventions and evaluation of outcomes and impacts. Block farming is another important strategy, which takes up the bulk of the extension staff’s efforts and places the agricultural ministry at the center of supplying inputs and offering markets for smallholders. Building on the recent evaluation of MoFA’s major activities, the program will identify alternatives arrangements for piloting that offer an enhanced role for the private sector – credit institutions for example – so that the ministry can transition out of the strong role it plays in input and output markets. The other interventions to be examined are fostering mechanization of agricultural operations, establishing customary land secretariats to enhance tenure security and generate information that facilitates land markets, and building farmer based organizations to aid smallholders.
Activities on Development Interventions:
- Value Chain Development
- Farmer Based Organizations
- Institutional Alternatives to Implement Block Farming
- Strategic Buffer Stocks and Agricultural Transformation
- Land Rights
(2) The activities under the sources of growth theme are designed to improve our understanding of economic growth in the sector to be able to design appropriate interventions. Figuring out how to encourage farmers’ investments in available technologies is one important activity. In collaboration with IPA, SARI, and MoFA on an ongoing project, the program will examine the effects of intensive extension services and insurance on farmers’ investments and productivity. Regional markets are considered to be important opportunities for the expansion of production. However, for a key crop such as tomato, Burkina Faso is outcompeting Ghana. Building on previous work on challenges in processing tomato in the country, the program will examine the competitiveness of tomato production vis-à-vis Burkina Faso. The development of information technologies offers opportunities to improve farmers’ access to market information. Partnering with an IFAD project, the program will test whether offering market information through cell phones will improve farmers’ welfare.
Activities on Sources of Growth:
- Sources of Competitiveness and Regional Trade
- Performance of Agricultural Investments
- Technology Adoption
- Labor, Mechanization, and Private Sector Development
- Impact of Market Information on Farmers’ Welfare
- Seed Policy and Adoption
(3) The management of the cocoa sector in the country will be examined under the institutions and governance theme. Cocoa in Ghana is one of the few cases where an African country withstood the pressure to fully liberalize an export commodity sector. Despite the high level of state control, the sector is performing well and contributing to growth and poverty reduction. The program is examining pricing policies that have been passing on a significant share of export prices to farmers, and importantly, the provision of services to farmers that appears to have contributed to productivity increases. As the bulk of expenditures in the sector is also made on cocoa, the study sheds light on the political economy of public investments in agriculture.
Activities on Institutions and Governance:
(4) Studies that seek to identify opportunities for addressing nutrition through agricultural interventions and the impact of health conditions on farming are included under the nutrition and health theme. The first activity examines whether nutritional outcomes are related to what households produce for consumption and the market. The second assesses whether enrollment in the national health insurance scheme impacts child health outcomes and intermediate health practices. Using data that will be generated in the pilot survey, the program will also examine the impact of disease incidence on the labor supply, productivity and welfare.
Activities on Nutrition and Health:
- Child Health Outcomes of Enrollment in National Health Insurance Schemes
- Agriculture and Nutrition Linkages
(5) Finally under the capacity development theme, the program has a number of activities designed to foster evidence based policy making in Ghana. The activities are designed to address both the supply of and the demand for information and knowledge. Partnerships with MoFA, MOFEP and other government agencies involved in agriculture sector, will continue to be strengthened. The key activity to enhance supply is GSSP’s continued efforts to improve the agricultural statistical system. It will be followed this year with a major scholarship program to encourage relevant research in local academic institutions and improved linkages between policymakers and local academics. As data becomes available from the improved system, efforts will be made to demonstrate to district administrations the value of this information in effective planning for agricultural development. To broaden the influence of the program, beyond the agricultural ministry, the program will continue to work with parliamentarians, the members of the select committee on agriculture and cocoa affairs in particular.
Capacity Development Activities: