September 27, 2020

Stakeholders call for inclusion of relevant groups in drafting agric sector policies

The under-performance of the agriculture sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has been attributed largely to the failures in agricultural policies, weak institutions, and poor governance.

On the policy front, some stakeholders have bemoaned the lack of input from smallholder farmers and other relevant groups.

To cure this, the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), has launched a new tool, the Smallholder Voices Portal, an online platform aimed giving all actors in Africa’s agricultural value chain a greater opportunity to join in—and influence—national policy dialogues, by igniting conversations between policymakers and smallholder farmers and other marginalized voices.

Taking his turn during the virtual forum to launch the platform, President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, Michael Nyarko Ampem, said the right policies could greatly reduce cost and boost local production.

“We are asking that we need to develop a policy where we can have a land bank, where we know that this area is purely for farming, be it crop, animal or poultry, so that the cost of doing business would come down because each time you need to go and start the process all over again, move people around, move your customers around, increase the cost of transporting your goods from farm gate to where you can sell them, all of these become a challenge. Also a policy that is needed is one that restricts the quantity of imported frozen chicken. We support imports but a quota system is needed seeing that only 10 percent of a total of about 250 metric tonnes of chicken produced is done by locals.”

For Agricultural Development Economist, Prof. Ramatu Mahama Al-Hassan, for the right policies to be formulated with the help of all players including smallholder farmers, research institutions and academia will need to provide credible and timely data.

“Researchers can make their roles and themselves useful by ensuring that their research meets at least 3 criteria, credibility of the methods, the quality of recommendations and the timeliness of the recommendations. Policy making involves choices by decision makers, so the recommendations should present clear options and trade-offs to the decision maker.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness, Anthony Morrison, said it is critical that policies that are adopted are nationalistic instead of being party focused.

“We need to look at the role of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), how they come up with the short-term, medium term and long-term development goals, and how the Ministry of Food and Agriculture taps into that to develop their framework. We need to look at the nationalistic priority rather than the government manifesto priority because most government manifesto priorities are not sustainable and they do not also affect the generality of the value chain.”

Source: Business