Agriculture sector faces hurdles despite potential for growth in Northern Region

Source The Ghana Report

Financial constraints are creating a significant gap in assessing the agriculture sector’s performance in the Northern Region, thereby hindering informed decision-making and the sector’s improvement.

Logistical, infrastructure and human resource challenges continue to obstruct the development of agriculture, despite its potential to enhance food security, create jobs and drive economic growth.

These issues are impeding Department of Agriculture efforts in facilitating the dissemination and adoption of improved technologies aimed at increasing crop production. This, in turn, impacts the nation’s food supply and potential for export earnings.

Despite limited staff and logistical challenges, the region has recorded bumper harvests due to increased farm sizes, improved mechanisation services, good agronomic practices and the use of improved seeds. However, the lack of agricultural extension services to assist in expanding production remains a critical issue.

These concerns were raised by Heads of Department at the Department of Agriculture during the 2024 annual and semi-annual regional agriculture sector performance review meetings held in Tamale.

The event, organised by the Regional Agricultural Department (RADs) in collaboration with the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC) and supported by the Feed the Future (FTF) Ghana Policy LINK Activity, aimed to foster collaboration and synergies among various actors within the agriculture sector. It also served as a crucial mechanism for evidence-based decision-making for assessing existing policies, strategies and programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) and fertiliser distribution.

Significant challenges in conducting performance reviews were noted, primarily stemming from limited and inconsistent financial resources and over-reliance of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) on development partners to fund Joint Sector Review (JSR) meetings, thus affecting their regularity.

Northern Regional Director of Agriculture Hajia Hawa Musah commended the various departments for their contributions to enhancing agricultural production in the region. She emphasised the need for stronger linkages to resolve issues related to accessing planting materials, relevant inputs, appropriate processing technologies, crop produce handling, storage and market access constraints.

Musah highlighted the importance of fostering networking, knowledge-sharing and learning opportunities across the entire agricultural value chain to drive agricultural development and modernisation within the region. She reiterated government’s commitment to supporting the sector’s growth for national development.

Senior Regional Manager at Policy Link, Mr. Eric Maasole, reaffirmed Policy Link’s commitment to collaborating with other USAID Implementing Partners and Development Partners to support the RCCs/RADs in the four ZOI regions in organising both annual and semi-annual performance review meetings. He encouraged various value chain actors to develop concepts and proposals tailored for policy development to secure support from the organisation.

Northern Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Felix Oteng Dwaah, stressed the need for District Assemblies to support the Departments with internally generated funds to facilitate their activities.

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