Marketplace Systems developing in Ghana

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According to USAID, ‘Market Systems Development is a human body of worldwide knowledge, recommendations, good methods and classes learned that offer a more effective, sustainable, and way that is beneficial poor people to develop their capacities and improve their lives. Indeed, Market Systems Development has proven a tool that is critically important using areas to raised offer the needs of this bad, particularly in currently volatile areas buffeted by extra pressures brought by COVID-19.

Agricultural extension services – the distribution of the latest information to farmers – have actually shown necessary to farmer productivity that is improving. The Government of Ghana has a long history of providing agriculture that is public solutions to farmers and presently embarks on a nationwide solution referred to as Unified Extension System. But, regardless of the national legislative and implementation framework for the supply of expansion solutions, numerous challenges prevent these services from running at an level that is optimum. Extension services in Ghana are generally outdated, overextended, and ineffective, resulting in limited farmer adoption and knowledge of agricultural guidelines. Due in component to restricted productivity that is agricultural 40% of the population in rural locations across the three Northern regions and 11% of the rural and urban population in Brong Ahafo are vulnerable to food insecurity. Additionally, public extension services are spread too thin. The quality is affected by that adversely of distribution. Presently, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture just employs 1,730 Agricultural Extension Agents (AEA) to focus on the requirements of about 5.2 million farmers in Ghana.

Catholic Relief Services was effective in reaching smallholder farmers aided by the market systems development approach and also by emphasizing scalability and sustainability of interventions targeted at improving market systems for smallholders.

Over the past three years, CRS/Ghana has been working alongside the Directorate of Agriculture Extension Service of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Hunger Project, and Farmerline to implement the Ghana Extension Systems Strengthening Project (GESSiP) with funding from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). GESSiP has focused on catalysing and sustaining an inclusive transformation that is agricultural raise the incomes of smallholder farmers and meals safety in 28 districts within the Brong Ahafo (BA) additionally the north elements of Ghana.  .  

Youth addition within the Agriculture Sector

Ghana’s agricultural sector plays a substantial part in attaining meals safety and financial development by using over 40% for the country’s active workforce. The age that is average of in Ghana between 55-60 years. And while youth form the workforce that is largest aided by the power to speed up financial development, in addition they represent the best degrees of jobless. In line with the World Bank, 48% of Ghanaian youth involving the many years of 15-24 would not have jobs, with jobless calculated at 12% and much more than 50% underemployment, both greater than general jobless in sub-Saharan countries that are african2016, 2021). Agriculture therefore stands out as one of the sectors that can empower youth and economically reduced jobless.

The GESSiP project contributes to increased commercialization of inputs along with other technologies through comprehensive transformation that is agricultural increase incomes and improve food security through extension services delivery. In doing so it is helping to address youth unemployment trends. Through GESSiP, CRS offers training on good practices that are agronomic community mobilization, documents maintaining, and expansion models that qualify individuals as Community Based-Advisors (CBAs). Up to now, over 1,144 CBAs, a lot of who are youth, happen trained as neighborhood expansion agents to advertise expansion solutions, farm input along with other technologies distribution to over 336,000 smallholder farmers in the Northern, North East and Savannah elements of Ghana. Another approach that is key ensure access to finance for farmers is to promote community savings through the Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) and the role of SILC Private Service Providers (PSPs). SILC PSPs operate on a basis that is market-led to make sure long-lasting, post-project supply of SILC services. PSPs provide training and help solutions to SILC teams at a fee and generally are arranged into neighborhood, informal peer support systems tasked with recruiting and certifying apprentices as required. 

Increased expansion Support & Input Access for Farmers

Extension solutions for smallholder farmers within the Brong Ahafo and Northern parts of Ghana are mainly under resourced, restricting effective distribution of solutions to farmers and stakeholders over the rice, maize, soyabean and cassava value chains, thus restricting the use of improved practices. About 40% of populations in rural communities in north Ghana and 11% of rural and populations that are urban Brong Ahafo are vulnerable to food insecurity. The project has contributed significantly to the increased extension support to farmers through support from government Agricultural Extension to its CBAs Agents (AEAs). Training gotten by farmers has generated increased use of good practices that are agronomic increased utilization of improved seed varieties.

The project also introduced participants to demonstration plots of improved crops and the concept of inputs and market access for farmers in their communities. One paticipant is Mohammed Jalilu, a youth who doubles as a CBA and Field Agent in Kunfusi, a grouped community in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District. In this role that is dual he has trained three Savings Groups and nearly 300 farmers on good agricultural practices and linked over 159 farmers for the purchase of farm inputs from larger-scale input suppliers. Jalilu now owns his fertilizers and pesticides shop, and CRS continues to monitor progress that is jalilu’s

Another great instance is Andrews Barah whom received training that is similar has trained two SILC saving groups with 43 members comprising 36 females and 7 males. He has so far trained over 300 farmers and linked them to purchase farm inputs from a bigger suppliers in the Bole district called Farmers’ Friend. Due to Andrews’s relentless efforts, he now serves as a value chain aggregator purchasing cashew nuts for OLAM Ghana and owns a cashew that is 13-acre and an input and storage space store.

A tradition of learning has been promoted amongst farmers through findings and involvement demonstration that is using and learning from each other thus promoting the adoption of new and or improved technologies. Also, the project has connected with private sector actors along the value chain and the market space such as SEEDCO Ghana Limited, Wumpini Agro Chemicals, Heritage Seed Limited, M&B Seeds Limited, Calli Ghana Limited and Olam Ghana to facilitate access to use of inputs through the adoption of field demonstrations and Farmer Field Days to promote learning by doing.

Overcoming Financial Barriers for Female Farmers 

Through training of SILC groups in prticipant communities GESSiP is gender that is also confronting faced by ladies wanting to access agricultural resources and play a role in decision-making especially in terms of advertising. These SILC teams have actually a cycle that is saving of 8 to 12 months and members determine the minimum and maximum contributions. The project has over 970 savings groups with 21,563 memeber 80% of whom are women. The project is helping communities that are rural money. These teams happen incorporated into the task with more than $277,536 in cost savings, increasing use of finance. Moreover, the ledger publications utilized by the SILC teams improves the documents maintaining abilities of users  whom utilize the exact same abilities for his or her businesses that are individual. Also, the SILC groups offer a potential that is great boosting monetary addition and creation linkages to formal finance institutions and mobile systems.

 ICT4Ag: Digital Extension solutions 

The Project has an database that is extensive of and applies digital innovative measures to deliver services to farmers and other stakeholders. Farmerline, one of the implementing partners, is responsible for the ICT4Ag services delivering information that is crucial to farmers through content texting and information collection to bolster and locate the farmer input-market and production string from pre-to post-production. Up to now, Farmerline has digitally profiled over 290,000 ag solution recipients and companies on their Mergdata Platform.   

Communication: Sharing Information through Media Channels 

Additionally, the task is utilising the news to attain farmers, particularly through the pandemic that is COVID-19. Currently the project is in partnership with the government’s Agriculture Extension Directorate running a TV program which focuses on the agronomy of maize, soyabean and rice. CalledTime aided by the Agric Doctor” a listenership is had by it of over 1 million smallholder farmers.

The use of local radio provides the opportunity to share information locally and opens a wider information network for farmers especially using dialects that are local. The project also partners with Farm broadcast Global, to facilitate the manufacturing and dissemination of trainings and agri-information (climate forecast, monetary training, COVID prevention protocols, and others), through community stereo. You will find presently 16 stereo which broadcast expansion communications in neighborhood languages to over 1.2 million smallholder farmers on crop manufacturing guides and protocols made by GESSiP. The task in addition has used the utilization of video lessons (digital classrooms) for mass technology dissemination.

Way Ahead to maintain outcomes

The task has accomplished results that are significant. However, there is a need to continue to intensify interventions aimed at building the capacity of more smallholders and empower them to expand their activities beyond increasing their productivity to targeting their marketing activities to enhance their ability to respond to the changes that are rapid the areas and start to become more resilient.

All These interventions have helped to improve the incomes of smallholder farmers thus making their households more offering and resilient smallholder farmers the chance to enhance their livelihoods. 

For further concerns, please reach out to the CRS Ghana nation Representative, Daniel Mumuni,