The World Vision Ghana, a faith-based organisation, has called for concerted efforts to address the gaps among actors in the agriculture value chain to improve food productivity and income levels of smallholder farmers.
Mr. Sergious Before, the Acting Northern Regional Operations Manager, World Vision Ghana, who made the call, said there was a disconnect between the various agriculture value chain players including farmers, input dealers, service providers, processors and consumers, a situation which was having a toll on farmers.
“Agricultural value chain actors are oblivious of where to access products and services that enhance their business interests. In situations where farmers have produce to sell, it is difficult to find favourable market conditions and this worsens their plight,” he said.
Mr. Before said this during a market linkage fair, organised by World Vision Ghana, for agriculture value chain actors, held at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region.
It was part of the roll-out of the Landscape and Environmental Agility Across the Nation (LEAN) project, a four-year project funded by the European Union’s flagship Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) initiative in the Kassena-Nankana West and Damongo districts.
The fair was to promote the visibility of activities in the value chain, promote business-to-business opportunities, and build a network to support sustainable access to markets and services of key products.
It also formed part of measures to sustain the EU-LEAN project’s gains, facilitate direct linkages between local value chain actors and potential buyers and service providers, promote co-learning and experience sharing across partners and projects in similar fields, and use existing institutional supports to foster agriculture development in the districts.
Mr. Before said farmers, especially smallholder farmers, could only increase production and income levels and reduce poverty when they were properly linked in chain.
Production without access to favourable markets had been identified as one of the standing blocks to smallholders’ ability to break even, he said, and called for stringent efforts to address those issues to increase productivity.
“To address this situation, World Vision Ghana uses the Local Value Chain Development approach. This helps agriculture businesses by creating partnerships between producers, processors and marketers to improve quality, increase efficiencies and market differentiated products.’’
The fair would, therefore, promote inclusive and efficient food systems that better integrated smallholder farmers and agribusinesses into the value chains, he said.
Mr. Joseph Edwin Yelkabong with the World Vision Ghana EU LEAN project, said the project aimed at conserving biodiversity, building climate resilience, and reducing emissions from land-use changes while helping local farmers to improve their livelihoods.
“These activities also aim to promote public-private partnerships and networking among value chain stakeholders, and create awareness about adapted financial products,” he said.
Aside from promoting environmental agility, the project also focuses on creating job opportunities for the youth and gender-inclusive activities in the agriculture sector, among other things.
Through the project, about 600 small ruminants have been received for distribution to farmers, while 41,000 tree seedlings have already been distributed.
Mr. Mohammed Bukari, the Kassena-Nankana West District Director of Agriculture, noted that the project would contribute significantly to the phase two of the Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which sought to address market linkage challenges.