Focus on agriculture to promote sustainable development – FAO

Agriculture is the most dynamic and innovative areas of the global economy that Ghana needs to focus most to ensure sustainable development, the Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative to Ghana, GueyeNdiaga, has emphasised.

He said farming was a pillar of Ghana’s economy, adding that food and agriculture had been one of the important economic sectors contributing to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

Speaking in Accra on Wednesday at the launch of the Phase III of the Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies Programme, (MAFAP III), MrNdiaga said “agriculture is clearly central to the lives and livelihoods of citizens in communities throughout Ghana.  And yet, agriculture often does not get the attention it deserves.”

The MAFAP, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with $11 million, provides evidence-based policy for inclusive agricultural transformation in Ghana and 16 other partner countries.

The programme had evolved significantly since its inception in 2009 with two phases already implemented.

The MAFAP carries out in-depth studies on selected policy issues in different areas of the food and agricultural sector, including trade and market policies, and agri-food public expenditures and investments.

The evidence generated by these studies encourages policy dialogue and fosters policy changes at country level.

Consequently, the FAO will seek to work with the government and other relevant stakeholders to support the process of agricultural transformation with focus on policy reforms, monitoring of indicators and prioritising policies, during the implementation of the MAFAP phase three project.

Agriculture transformation had been identified by the government as strategic area in the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework, 2018 -2021.

Mr Ndiaga said “here in Ghana, more than one third of citizens are engaged in agricultural activities and are involved in selling agricultural products to supplement their income.”

“Furthermore, not only is agriculture essential to Ghana’s economic health and future; it is also a proud tradition of families across this land, often going back many generations.”

He said having a programme such as MAFAP supporting countries in the analysis of public policies taking into consideration their implementation, results achieved while detecting their strengths and weaknesses was indeed an asset for decision makers to bring about efficient governance and effective change.

The Project Manager of MAFAP, Christian Derlagen, said the project would collaborate with the MOFA statistics department to help reduce post-harvest losses in maize and rice.

The launch was attended by representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Trade and Industries, Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development who shared with participants the government’s priority areas in agriculture transformation.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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