The focus this year is to conduct research into how the activities of government and private sector in key areas can be best designed to support agricultural transformation and achieve desired and projected benefits from growth. The activities have been organized around six topics. These topics have been designed on the basis of previous research work, with emphasis placed on the sector strategies, as well as alignment with USAID Ghana’s priorities.
1. Labor and Mechanization – The tasks under this activity will examine the extent to which labor may be a constraint to agriculture transformation and will examine best ways to foster mechanization of agricultural operations.
2. Commercialization - Commercialization of agriculture, which has been receiving a lot of attention from both the GoG and donor partners, places considerable emphasis on large scale production. In Ghana, it appears that a noticeable portion of the farmers operate medium to large holdings. This activity will examine the characteristics and performance of larger holdings.
3. Value Chain Development – VCD 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 Feed the Future (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.
4. Productivity growth in irrigated rice systems – Preliminary surveys suggest that significant yields have been achieved in irrigated rice systems in the country. The activity examines rice farming in five irrigation systems across the country to understand the factors that lead to technologyadoption and private sector development to support agricultural transformation.
5. Adoption of rice and maize varieties - This activity will contribute to increased understanding of factors contributing to or constraining wide adoption of improved technologies and effectiveness of R&D investments in Ghana. The specific objective is to examine the adoption of rice and maize varieties released in the country.
6. Capacity Building - 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.
a. Support to SRID on improving agricultural statistics- The program has been assisting the ministry in piloting an improved agricultural survey that can generate district level data annually. This survey covers all the crops and cropping practices in both major and minor season and offers more reliable estimates of area and yields.
b. Agri-business Management program at GIMPA- The program is working with GIMPA and the University of Ghana to develop a month long program on agribusiness management with assistance from Indian Institutes of Management at Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The first set of trainees will include a few members of the agribusiness support unit in the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (PPMED).
c. Scholarship- To strengthen capacities as well as to make research done in the country more relevant for policy making, GSSP is continuing a scholarship program (initiated last year) for supporting master’s level thesis research.
d. SAKSS Support- As part of establishing a local knowledge system or SAKSS, MoFA has established thematic groups for each of the major objectives of its policy initiatives. GSSP will support the node in its operation and research management.