Ghana made enormous progress in its agricultural sector during the 2019 reporting year by obtaining a 6.67 score out of a possible maximum of 10 to surpass the benchmark for the 2019 reporting year of the Malabo Declaration which was pegged at 6.66.
In fact, only four African countries, including Ghana, made the tremendous progress required during the reporting year to surpass the benchmark score. They are Rwanda, Morocco and Mali who obtained 7.24, 6.96 and 6.82 respectively.
This development implies that Ghana is on-track toward achieving the seven commitments of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which also refers to the Malabo Declaration by 2025 after missing out in the 2017 reporting period.
Altogether, 36 African countries made improvement over the previous reporting period in 2017.
However, analysis of the report shows that the continent generally still remains off-track towards achieving the overall Malabo Declaration commitments, obtaining an overall average score of 4.03 compared to the benchmark of 6.66 required to be on-track.
This came to the fore during the launch of the second Biennial Review Report on the implementation of the June 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods held in Ethiopia earlier this month.
In the Malabo Declaration, African Union Member States committed to report on a biennial basis, the progress in achieving the seven commitments of the Declaration which are translated into seven thematic areas of performance.
They include re-committing to the principles and values of the CAADP process; enhancing investment finance in agriculture by allocating 10 percent of their respective national budgetary resources to the agriculture sector and achieving 6 percent annual growth rate; ending hunger in Africa by 2025; and reducing poverty at least by half, by 2025, through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation.
The rest are: boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services; enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate variability and other related risks; as well as strengthening mutual accountability to actions and results.
The report did not give details on the measures taken by Ghana and the other three best performing countries that enabled them to surpass the benchmark. However, analysis indicates that some agricultural interventions notably the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) among other interventions largely orchestrated the upward move.
For instance, with the operationalization of the PFJ programmes which led to bumper harvest in maize, plantain, cassava and other food items, Ghana was faced with the challenge of adequately managing its resultant new agricultural surpluses.
Statistics from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture indicate that by 2018, more than 677,000 farmers out of the nearly three million selected onto the PFJ programme were already having problems in marketing their agricultural crop surpluses generated by the improved farming methods and strategies implemented in the initiative – such as use of improved seeds and fertilizer.
This is why by the middle of last year, government began the process of negotiating with Brazil towards purchasing agro-processing machinery to enable the State effectively utilize its agricultural crop surpluses by adding value to the produce.