US Aid in GhanaU.S. foreign aid is helping farmers in Ghana produce more crops during the country’s lean season. These efforts and contributions are helping to address food insecurity and grow the agriculture-based economy. Here is how U.S. aid in Ghana is helping to create measurable results for the country’s farmers. 

Ghana’s Agricultural Industry

Agriculture remains a major source of income for much of the Ghanaian population. In Ghana’s northern region, 90% of families rely on agricultural production as a means of support. However, inefficiencies and a lack of investment in the industry have led to limited production of food. 

The programs outlined below seek to reduce poverty in Ghana through improving technology and trade for Ghanaian farmers. So far, U.S. aid in Ghana has shown to be effective and impactful.

USAID Initiative

In June of 2023, USAID announced a $7 million donation to help farmers continue producing food during the lean season. This project would provide funding to more than 17,000 farmers between June and August. 

In partnering with both the World Food Program and Ghana’s government, USAID aims to promote the country’s agriculture industry and enhance the livelihoods of farmers. Alongside this initiative, USAID is working to help Ghana accomplish self-sufficiency through agricultural means. 

Feed the Future

USAID’s Feed the Future initiative focuses on boosting economic activity and growth in Ghana, providing resources and investment into the country’s agriculture industry. Feed the Future also aims to combat malnutrition, promoting the physical development of both the country and its people. 

Several goals of Feed the Future include raising profits for small farmers, facilitating agricultural trade on a regional and international level and providing nutrition for Ghana’s vulnerable populations. So far, Feed the Future has been able to provide technology and resources for more than 798,000 farmers in Ghana. 

World Food Program USA

In partnering with local farmers, the World Food Program USA (WFP) works to improve the efficiency and availability of food production technology in Ghana. WFP’s operations in Ghana also help to increase accessibility for essential staple foods, such as soybeans and corn. 

Along with this, WFP is also helping to open doors for economic development through agricultural trade. The program has been able to provide financial support for small farmers in Ghana through private-sector companies.

USDA and Agromovil

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service helps Ghanaian farmers connect with local and international buyers and sellers. These efforts have boosted Ghana’s economy and improved the lives of small farmers within the country. 

In June of 2023, USDA announced a partnership that would help to break down trade barriers and facilitate economic activity for Ghanaian farmers: Collaboration with an app called Agromovil would allow farmers to enter into a wider range of local and international markets. 

The app connects farmers with potential buyers, creating countless opportunities for agricultural workers. Agromovil increases the visibility of small farmers and ensures the increased trade of agricultural products. So far, the app has generated more than $3.5 million in sales for its users.

Agromovil has also helped close the gap between male and female farmers, providing equal access and opportunity to all farmers in Ghana. More than half the app’s users are young or female, providing a platform for underrepresented, diverse populations. 

What’s Ahead?

Looking at the success of these programs, it is clear that U.S. aid in Ghana is helping to build a self-sufficient, agriculturally-driven economy by creating opportunities for small farmers. The impacts of these programs directly benefit Ghana’s population as a whole, addressing issues of poverty and food insecurity. With these initiatives and investments in the country’s most important sector, the future looks brighter for Ghana’s economic development. 

– Mary Burke
Photo: Flickr

Food insecurity in GhanaMany consider Ghana “one of the most stable and democratic countries in West Africa.” However, poverty rates are high, standing at 25.5% in 2020, according to the World Bank. In the last 30 years, Ghana has made great progress in reducing poverty from a 49% poverty rate in 1990 to a 13% poverty rate in 2018. Still, inequalities exist between the north and south of the nation as well as between the urban and rural populations. During the lean season in 2020, the World Food Programme noted that more than 21,000 people suffered from food insecurity in Ghana, particularly in the northern region.

Difficulties in Northern Ghana

Food insecurity in Ghana is more severe in the north of the country largely due to climatic issues. In the northern region, 90% of Ghanaian households depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, however, this region only has one rainy season in comparison to the south, which has two rainy seasons. This climatic difference impacts food production and worsens both poverty and food insecurity in Ghana’s north. Farmer also face other issues such as “low [market] prices, poor road infrastructure, lack of access to finance, inadequate markets, post-harvest losses, insufficient education and knowledge[and] unsustainable farming systems.” Due to an agricultural dependence among rural people, food insecurity and poverty largely affect rural populations.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Combats Food Insecurity in Ghana

The WFP’s work in Ghana, in general, focuses on four key areas to fight food insecurity in Ghana.

  1. Private Sector Collaboration. To address stunting and nutritional deficiencies, the WFP provided support to the private sector to supply and promote “affordable and safe fortified nutritious foods.” For example, the WFP gave technical and financial assistance to two companies and linked these manufacturers to local small-scale farmers. The two Ghanaian companies manufacture Tomvita and Maisoya, which are fortified foods that improve the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding women. The companies aim to extend production to supplemental foods for children.
  2. Nutritional Assistance. The WFP partners with various government institutions to fight against food insecurity in Ghana and address nutritional deficiencies. The partnership aims to ensure citizens consume nutritious local-based diets and learn behaviors conducive to good health. The WFP also supplies electronic vouchers to supplement the nutrition of pregnant or breastfeeding women and children younger than 2.
  3. Food System Resilience. The WFP connects small-scale Ghanaian farmers to local markets “to increase the availability, access and utilization of staples foods” such as “maize, millet, cowpeas and soybeans.” So far, the WFP has connected “10,000 smallholder farmers to two industrial agro-food processing companies that produce specialized blended nutritious foods.” The WFP also aims to strengthen the food supply chain and ensure proper “post-harvest facilities, technologies and services” to improve the quality and safety of foods.
  4. Policy-Making Assistance and Capacity Expansion. The WFP is offering its support and services to improve Ghana’s existing programs and develop policies that focus on combating malnutrition and establishing adequate food systems. This involves connecting Ghana’s national school feeding initiative to the country’s agricultural arena. The WFP helps Ghana to implement food security monitoring measures and establish guidelines to “improve food quality and safety and emergency preparedness.”

Impact in Numbers

According to a WFP Ghana Country Brief published in August 2021, for the year 2021 overall, the WFP aimed to help 45,000 people through nutritional assistance. In August 2021 alone, more than 4,500 people “received direct food assistance through vouchers.” If one looks at the gender proportions of beneficiaries, women formed 72% of the beneficiaries while men accounted for 28%.  Moreover, in 2021, the WFP helped 22,020 small-scale farmers to increase their capacity and connect to markets.

Even though the WFP is seeing success in improving food insecurity in Ghana, worsening environmental conditions like drought stand as additional barriers to food security. Through ongoing support in strengthening the country’s food systems and resilience overall, Ghana can remain out of famine.

– Ander Moreno
Photo: Flickr