In Ghana’s southern horticulture zone, ACDI/VOCA worked to increase agricultural productivity, high-value commercial and basic food crop production, and private-sector investment in agriculture to boost farmers’ incomes and improve overall community well-being.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Ghana funded the 3 ½ year, $5.4 million project as part of its $547 million Commercial Development of Farmer-Based Organizations (FBOs) initiative, which prepared farmers groups for commercial activity.
ACDI/VOCA’s Ghana team supported local FBOs using a market-driven, value chain-based approach to prioritize commercially viable agricultural activities that had the potential to be upgraded and would benefit large numbers of farm households. In addition to market conditions, social and environmental impact were also weighed.
The program helped link farmers to markets by coordinating and leveraging its activities with other Ghanaian agriculture projects and through other local development partners.
Farmers Connect to Markets
The ACDI/VOCA Ghana team facilitated and strengthened market linkages between FBOs and aggregators, exporters and processors of five selected value chains: chilies, maize, mangos, pineapple, and rice.
Under the first phase of the project, FBO members increased their commercial skills through farmer and enterprise training in commercial agriculture. With support from technical and training service providers, the team trained 286 FBOs and 12,832 farmers and facilitated agreements between the FBOs and 9 different buyers.
ACDI/VOCA also assisted FBO members to use improved farming technology and best practices for activities such as site selection and land preparation, fertilizer use, and harvesting and post-harvesting, which FBOs adopted at high rates.
Strong Value Chains
In March 2010, the Millennium Development Authority awarded ACDI/VOCA an extension to implement Phase B of the program, which further strengthened the identified agricultural value chains. Key to this effort was findings ways for the farmers to collaborate with the larger firms and service providers they depended on for markets and services. These include: AMSEC, Dizengoff Ltd., Finatrade, the Ghana Grains Council, NAMSECO, Olam, Prairie Volta Ltd., RST, VegPro, and numerous local input companies and suppliers.
The program also increased farmers’ access to and use of irrigation facilities and post-harvest infrastructure.
The project activities included:
training over 20,000 farmers
linking 5 FBOs to pineapple exporters
assisting FBOs in 4 districts to cultivate 53 acres of bird’s eye chili
arranging pre-purchase finance agreements with buyers in pineapples and rice
piloting Ghana’s first warehouse receipts program
Preserve the Environment
Throughout the life of the project, ACDI/VOCA implemented environmental and social management plans to ensure that farmers understood and used sound environmental practices. Following training, all of the 398 trained FBOs had environmental management plans in place.